This year is a double celebration for Merida, having been crowned Cultural Capital of the Americas for the second time – the first-ever city to win the accolade twice. It also happens to be the 475th anniversary of the city’s founding and Merida and its residents are in full party mode.
Merida is the capital of Mexico’s Yucatan state. It was built on the site of the ancient Maya city of T’ho by Spanish conquistador Francisco de Montejo, who promptly dismantled the town’s sacred pyramids to build the Catedral de San Ildefonso and other seminal buildings. Modern Merida therefore has a unique, if slightly jumbled identity. A juxtaposition of ancient ruins and colonial Spanish architecture coupled with a distinctly cosmopolitan feel.
Already home to an abundance of art galleries, museums and cultural institutions, this year Merida will up the ante with a year-long commemorative program called Merida Fest, featuring art installations, film screenings, live music and dance recitals by local residents.
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