Mérida is the capital and largest city in Yucatan, Mexico, as well as the largest city of the Yucatán Peninsula.
Mérida was founded January 6, 1542 by Francisco de Montejo y León (“el Mozo”) and named after the town of Mérida, Spain. The Mayan city was once known as T’hó or Ichkanzihóo meaning “The City of Five Hills” as reference to the five pyramids found inside the city.
T’ho had been a center of the Mayan culture and activity for centuries, and quickly became an important city for both Maya and Spanish.
Conquistadors found a major Maya settlement of lime-mortared stone which reminded them of the Roman architecture in Mérida Spain. The city was renamed and Montejo´s men proceeded to convert it into the regions capital. Mayan structures were dismantled and the existing materials were used to construct the cathedral and other majestic buildings. Mérida took its colonial orders directly from Spain instead of Mexico City, giving the state of Yucatán a distinct cultural and political identity.
For centuries, Mérida has been known for its outstanding gastronomy, its magical music, its gorgeous architecture as well as its tropical temperatures and the warmth and kindness of its people. It has been named one of the best places to live in Mexico, and the world, due to its outstanding infrastructure and safety.
Today, Mérida is the Peninsula’s commercial, medical, and educational center, a bustling city that has benefited greatly from both its growth and the increase of the tourism industry over the past decade.
On the night of January 5th, 2019, thousands of citizens gathered at the Historic Center of Mérida to celebrate the 477th anniversary of the founding of the Yucatecan capital. The serenade left the park of Santa Lucia where a concert also took place, and then the group composed of singers and thousands of citizens and tourists, headed to the Plaza Grande.
Mérida mayor Renán Barrera Concha; the municipal Director of Culture Irving Berlin Villafaña, and the representative of the culture commission, Nora Pérez Pech, led the caravan dressed in regional clothing and holding candles.
With candles, balloons and flowers, the musicians walked and sang boleros to the city as they roamed the streets of Centro. And at twelve midnight, the crowd gathered in the Plaza Grande, and began to sing “Las Mañanitas” to the city of Mérida in an emotional event.