At noon the park of La Ermita is specially attractive: young secondary school students occupy the benches, underneath provided by beautiful palm trees predominate and the kiosk in the center looks quiet and peaceful.
The image contrasts with the rest of the landscape, because the sun is so intense that the residents just peep out the doors and windows of their houses and only the bravest venture to go outside.
This colorful place of Merida immediately captures the attention of those who visit it, the color of its houses and its old mansions, its streets with French cobblestone, its temple and its tranquility distinguish it, as if it were a placid little town outside the city.
This neighborhood has always attracted people, and its streets tell legends of crouched jaguars and colorful birds. While we walk in front of “La Ermita”, our imagination transports us to an anecdotal and romantic past.
Former residents of the neighborhood, such as Don Ernesto Barrera Arjona describe it as a quiet neighborhood where there was not much commerce.
As it has happened in other old neighborhoods of Merida Centro, including Santa Ana, Santiago, Santa Lucia and La Mejorada, La Ermita and San Sebastian already boast a large foreign community living there. These residents have selected Mérida as a second home, renovating old houses and adapting to the life of the local community.
It is no longer strange for neighbors to watch Americans and Canadians ride their bicycles or walk through its streets, go to the market or participate in traditional events and parties.
The streets that have more foreign residents are Calle 66 and 64, which connect “La Ermita” with Santiago and San Juan. Some of these Ex-pats have opened small art galleries where they exhibit paintings and other forms of artistic expression.
However, unlike Santa Ana or Santiago, local population still predominates in “La Ermita”.
The park, the church and the Arch of San Juan in the north and “La Ermita de Santa Isabel” (real full name of “La Ermita”) in the south, make up an urban center that offers authentic attractions for tourists and inhabitants alike, due to its colonial characteristics.
Velázquez Park (official name of the San Juan Park) conducts directly to “La Ermita”, departing from the “Arco de San Juan”, through Calles 64 and 64-A, paved with French cobblestone in the second year of the administration of Governor Luis Torres Mesías.
“La Ermita de San Isabel” is, without a doubt, one of Mérida’s most charming corner. Located in the Barrio (neighborhood) of San Sebastián in the Centro Histórico, near the old city gate marking the Camino Real to Campeche, its striking arch at the corner of 64 and 69 places it as the ideal spot to imagine how the old Merida used to be.
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