Mérida is the glorious capital of the state of Yucatan. This colonial city is known as the "White City" because of
the popular use of white limestone and white paint. It was founded in 1542 by the Spanish Conquistador
Francisco de Montejo, and its wide, palm-tree lined main avenue bears his name. The Governor's Palace has
a magnificent marble gallery overlooking Mérida's beautiful main square, and showcases giant murals
depicting the misery inflicted by the conquistadores. We highly recommend a visit to this elegant and historic
building when you are in the main square.
Left in seclusion for many years because of the difficulty of traveling to Mérida, the people of this region have
cultivated a distinct contemporary society that is unique in Mexico. Mérida is an especially safe place to visit
and the people are warm, friendly, and polite There is considerable fast-moving traffic in Mérida, and it
seems faster downtown, in el centro, where the streets are narrow, and the majority of streets are one-way.
Outstanding regional dishes and traditional music and dances local to
this region can be found in restaurants, theatres and shops housed
both near the main plaza and in palatial mansions along Paseo de
Montejo - a boulevard fashioned after Paris' Champs Elysée.
To the left you see the grand finale of the presentation for Mayan
coffee, when ordered at Pancho's restaurant, downtown.
The main square is beautiful
both day and night, with street
vendors, the governor's
mansion, caleches for hire,
and often live music. The
square comes alive after dark,
and should not be missed.
You can even find restaurants
with individual balconies
overlooking the square.
Above the trees of the main
square you see the twin spires
of the magnificent cathedral of
San Idelfonso, said to be North
America's oldest cathedral (built
1556-1599). The Mayan
temple which originally stood on
this spot was dissembled by the
spaniards and its giant stones
were used for the foundation of
this beautiful church.