A few months ago I went to Merida, Yucatan for work, but I had not a lot, but enough free time to take a lot of pictures and do some touristing of the city and some spots worth visiting near the city and damn, I could see my post structure every time I took a picture, but with work related stuff, personal projects and my Becoming a dev odyssey, I just haven't found the time to post all the amazing stuff I want to share with you.
So, today, I decided to wake up one hour earlier than usual to actually be able to get this done. It's been already 2 hours and I haven't finished, but this post is worth it, believe me.
Mérida is Yucatán's capital and walking its streets sure feels like being out of Mexico, not only because of the safety you can sense from the moment you leave your hotel door, which is not very common in Mexico, but also because in some parts of the city you don't even recognize the streets as Mexican. At some point, I even felt as if I was in Cuba, walking down the same street style and looking at the same architecture tendencies.
By only walking down downtown's streets, you can already feel a romantic, provincian vibe, full of history and leyend. This city has a lot of modern touches, but manages to preserve its colonial flavor, full of light and color and at the same time, not coming off as too much.
Before the Spanish arrived here - Yucatan is on the coast where Cristopher Columbus arrives in 1492 - this territory was know as T’ho by the Mayans, which means five hills, but was also knows as Ichcaanzihó, which means face of the infinite.
One thing that struck me as retrograde but as curious at the same time, is that many city streets, neighborhoods and buildings, have the word Montejo in it, in fact, one of the most famous and respected beers is called Montejo so, me being the curious Mexican that I am, decided to research why the hell everywhere I go I see this word.
Turns out Montejo is originally a last name. Mérida was founded by some el mozo (slang for a laddie that does manual work for a respected noble man) Francisco de Montejo, who named it "Merida" because the ancient prehispanic edifications reminded him of the Roman ruins that are still well preserved in the Spanish city that shares the name with it.
The city center was reserved for the Plaza Mayor (Like with pretty much every Mexican city) and the builders used sacred stones from Mayan temples to build the houses and public buildings meant for the conquistadores (the Conquerors), such as the Royal Houses, temples for the newly introduced Christian faith, among which the most well known one is the San Ildefonso Cathedral.
The architecture of the Avenue El Paseo de Montejo
All the pictures that you see in this post are from one street and only one street: El Paseo de Montejo, Montejo's stroll, and as I already mentioned, it is the architecture depicted in all of Merida, but mainly in this street, that struck me as superb: sober styled, colonial vibed, high roofed and big windowed buildings all around.
The name White City comes from the fact that most of the buildings are made from the characteristic Quarry's color particular to the Yucatan region, which highlights and reflects the sun's light.
This Paseo de Montejo street exists on purpose: At the end of the the XIX century, Merida went through an era of bonanza triggered by the trade of Henequen (A type of Agave, with what Tequila is made), a group of powerful and rich Yucatek (people from Yucatan) started a proyect: To build a public avenue that rivals the most beautiful and well known avenues in the world.
Paseo de Montejo was built between 1886 and 1905 and was inspired by the Champs-Elysees in Paris, and it was named like this in honor of the city founder, Francisco de Montejo y Leon. Throughout the avenue one can find the most beautiful buildings in the city - and maybe the region -, some serve nowadays as museums, banks and private company buildings, but some others are still inhabited by people and used as houses.
If you've made it this far, you really enjoyed this pictures so, I'm including many more for your delight in urban exploration - perhaps not the one I like the most which is to explore abandoned, hidden spots but still nice to do.
I hope you liked this post amigos cause part 2 is coming soon (Oh yeah, I took more than 100 pictures from this avenue).