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MERIDA, YUCATAN, MEXICO

Merida is the capital and the largest city in state of Yucatan. The church of the Merida is the oldest chuch in all North America.

Merida is close to a lot of toursit place to visit like Chichen Itza or the zenotes ( Dzitnup Zenote Samula Zenote ). There are also a beach close to Merida, where you can get by public bus, Progreso beach.

Mérida is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Yucatán and the Yucatán Peninsula. It is located in the northwest part of the state, about 35 km (22 mi) from the Gulf of Mexico coast. The city is also the municipal seat of the Municipality of Mérida, which includes the city and the areas around it.

According to the 2010 census, the population of Mérida was 970,377, ranking 12th among the most populous Mexican metropolitan areas. The municipality's area is 858.41 km2 (331.43 sq mi). The metropolitan area includes the municipalities of Mérida, Umán and Kanasín and had a population of 1,035,238 in the same 2010 census. It is the largest of the four cities of the world that share the name Mérida, the other three being in Spain, Venezuela and The Philippines. The city like much of the state has heavy French, British and to a lesser extent Dutch influences. Merida has the highest percentage of indigenous persons of any large city in Mexico.
There were three Spanish conquistadors named "Francisco de Montejo", "El Adelantado" (father), Francisco de Montejo y León "el Mozo" (son), and Francisco de Montejo "el sobrino" (nephew). Mérida was founded in 1542 by Francisco de Montejo "el Mozo" (son). It was built on the site of the Maya city of T'ho (also known as Ichcaanzihó or "city of the five hills", referring to five pyramids) which had been a center of Mayan culture and activity for centuries. Because of this, many historians consider Mérida the oldest continually occupied city in the Americas.

Carved Maya stones from ancient T'ho were widely used to build the Spanish colonial buildings that are plentiful in downtown Mérida, and are visible, for instance, in the walls of the main cathedral. Much of Mérida's architecture from the colonial period through the 18th century and 19th century is still standing in the centro historico of the city. From colonial times through the mid 19th century, Mérida was a walled city intended to protect the Peninsular and Criollo residents from periodic revolts by the indigenous Maya. Several of the old Spanish city gates survive, but modern Mérida has expanded well beyond the old city walls.

Late in the 19th century and the early 20th Century, the area surrounding Mérida prospered from the production of henequén. For a brief period, around the turn of the 20th century, Mérida was said to house more millionaires than any other city in the world. The result of this concentration of wealth can still be seen today. Many large and elaborate homes still line the main avenue of Paseo de Montejo, though few are occupied today by individual families. Many of these homes have been restored and now serve as office buildings for banks and insurance companies.

Mérida has one of the largest centro historico districts in the Americas (surpassed only by Mexico City and Havana, Cuba). Colonial homes line the city streets to this day, in various states of disrepair and renovation; the historical center of Mérida is currently undergoing a minor renaissance as more and more people are moving into the old buildings and reviving their former glory.

In August 1993 Pope John Paul II visited the city on his third trip to Mexico. The city has been host to two bilateral United States – Mexico conferences, the first in 1999 (Bill Clinton - Vincente Fox) and the second in 2007 (George W. Bush – Felipe Calderón).

In June 2007, Mérida moved its city museum to the renovated Post Office building next to the downtown market. The Museum of the City of Mérida houses important artifacts from the city's history, as well as an art gallery.

Mérida is the cultural and financial capital of the Yucatán Peninsula, as well as the capital city of the state of Yucatán. In recent years, important science competitions and World events were held in Mérida - FITA Archery World Cup Finals, the International Cosmic Ray Conference, a Physics Olympiad, etc.
Mérida has been nicknamed "The White City", though the exact origin of this moniker is not clear. Some explanations include the common color of its old buildings painted and decorated with "cal" (though anyone visiting modern Mérida can see that buildings are not all white nowadays) or the fact that the residents keep the city particularly clean. Mérida was named after the Spanish town of the same name, originally (in Latin) Augusta Emerita (see Mérida, Spain). Mérida served as the American Capital of Culture in the year 2000.

As the state and regional capital, Mérida is a cultural center, featuring multiple museums, art galleries, restaurants, movie theatres and shops. Mérida retains an abundance of beautiful colonial buildings and is a vibrant cultural center with music and dancing playing an important part in day-to-day life. At the same time it is a modern city boasting a comprehensive range of shopping malls, auto dealerships, top quality hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities. The famous avenue, Paseo de Montejo, is lined with original sculpture. Each year, the MACAY Museum in Mérida mounts a new sculpture installation, featuring works from Mexico and one other chosen country. Each exhibit remains for ten months of the year. In 2007, sculptures on Paseo de Montejo feature works by artists from Mexico and Japan.
Mérida and the state of Yucatán have traditionally been isolated from the rest of the country by geography, creating a unique culture. The conquistadors found the Mayan culture to be incredibly resilient, and their attempts to eradicate Mayan tradition, religion and culture had only moderate success. The surviving remnants of the Mayan culture can be seen every day, in speech, dress, and in both written and oral histories. It is especially apparent in holidays like Hanal Pixan, a Mayan/Catholic Day of the Dead celebration. It falls on November 1 and 2 (one day for adults, and one for children) and is commemorated by elaborate altars dedicated to dead relatives. It is a compromise between the two religions with crucifixes mingled with skull decorations and food sacrifices/offerings. Múkbil pollo is the Mayan tamal pie offered to the dead on All Saints' Day, traditionally accompanied by a cup of hot chocolate. Many Yucatecans enjoying eating this on and around the Day of Dead. And, while complicated to make, they can be purchased and even shipped via air. (Muk-bil literally means "to put in the ground" or to cook in a pib, an underground oven).

For English speakers or would-be speakers, Mérida has the Mérida English Library, a lending library with an extensive collection of English books, videos, tapes and children's books. The library is also the site for expatriate meetings, children's storytelling hours and other cultural events.

Mérida is also home to the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra, which plays regular seasons at the Jose Peon Contreras Theatre on Calle 60 and features classical music, jazz and opera.




Church in Merida, Mexico yucata We in the monument to the flag m Church in Merida, Yucatan
















Monument to the flag in Paseo de montejo, Merida m Palace in Paseo de Montejo, Merida
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May 2008

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