Merida Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia (4K)
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Merida Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia (4K)

The city of Mérida is the capital of
the Mexican state of Yucatan. While much of the peninsula is famed
for its resorts, Meérida is the epicentre of Yucatan culture, history, and, Mayan pride. At the city’s heart is Plaza Grande. This relaxed square is surrounded by some of
the city’s most beautiful buildings, many built from the sun-baked stones of
the great Mayan temples which once stood here. Facing the square is Merida’s oldest building, Casa de Montejo,
built by the city’s founding Conquistador. Step inside the shady courtyards and lavish
interiors of this residence, home of the Montejo dynasty
for over four centuries. Just across the square rises Mérida Cathedral, whose massive altarpiece symbolises
the eventual reconciliation between the Maya and the Spanish peoples. Right next door, discover modern sculptures,
at the Contemporary Art Museum, which proudly displays works by some of the region’s
most popular and thought-provoking artists. Radiating from Plaza Grande are pastel streets
filled with architectural treasures and cool parks. Just a block away, relax with locals in Hidalgo Park, an oasis surrounded by cafes, restaurants
and charming hotels. From here it’s just a few steps to
The Jose Peon Contreras Theatre, the home of the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra. In the late 1800s, Yucatan became the centre
of henequen production, and Merida fast became
one of the world’s wealthiest cities. Take a walk up Paseo de Montejo, an avenue inspired by
the great boulevards of Paris, where Yucatan’s elite built their stately homes. Pay a visit to Casa Montes Molina, a mansion preserved down to its very last detail, and experience the scents and patinas
of a bygone era. Mérida is filled with windows into the past,
including its many museums, which cover everything from Yucatan song
to the folk arts of Mexico. Just a short walk south from Plaza Grande
is the Museum of The City of Merida, which charts the rich and sometimes turbulent
history of Yucatan’s capital. Once the residence of a former governor and general, Palacio Cantón is now home to Yucatan’s
Anthropology and History Museum. While nearby, the Great Museum of the Mayan World creates a striking contrast to
Mérida’s historic streetscapes. The building was inspired by the form of the
sacred ceiba tree, which the Maya believed was a bridge to the
heavens and the underworld. Inside, its collections are the perfect gateway
to a civilisation, which has long captured the imaginations of
explorers and anthropologists. One such adventurer was the Englishman,
Frederick Catherwood. Step into the explorer’s historic residence
to see his lithographs of lost Mayan cities, which when published in the 1800s, created a sensation all over the world. When it’s time to take your own Mayan adventure,
hit the road. Just ten miles north of Mérida,
are the Dzibilchaltun Ruins. Or take the forty-minute drive south to Mayapan, the Mayan capital from the 13th to the 15th centuries. The deeper you venture into Yucatan,
the greater the reward. An hour’s drive southwest from Mayapan are
the hills of Puuc. Here you’ll find the incredibly ornate ruins
of Uxmal, where the Pyramid of the Magician looms high
above the expansive Governor’s Palace. In Yucatan, all roads eventually lead to Chichén Itza, the most famous of all the Mayan cities. Walk across the blood-soaked ball court, where
opposing teams literally played for their lives. Wander through a forest of stone at
the Court of a Thousand Columns. Then, let your gaze climb the staircase of
El Castillo, and you’ll soon appreciate why these ancient ruins
are considered one of the world’s great wonders. The heat and humidity of Yucatan can be fierce, so when the Mexican sun starts to climb, escape underground into the incredible caves
of Calcehtok. The Yucatan Peninsula has also been blessed
with an incredible network of over 6000 cenotes. For the ancient Maya, these clear subterranean
pools provided water for their cities. And some, such as the Sacred Cenote of
Chichén Itza, were considered portals to the afterlife. Today, many of these cenotes
are the perfect place to cool off. But of course, there’s nowhere better to
wash away the Yucatan dust than back in Mérida, one of the most cultural, historic and coolest
cities in all of Mexico.


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