“The area known as Pasaje Gabriel Vicente Gahona “Picheta” has reopened its doors, after remaining closed for two years, due to changes made by the previous state administration”, said Mauricio Díaz Montalvo, director of the Board of Trustees of the Cultural and Tourist Services Units of Yucatán (Patronato de las Unidades de Servicios Culturales y Turísticos de Yucatán).
The name of this site honors the famous cartoonist Gabriel Vicente Gahona Pasos, better known as “Picheta”, who was the founder of the first academy of engraving in Yucatán, in addition to being a great promoter of the arts, he was also the municipal president of Mérida in 1880. Picheta is considered one of the most important Yucatecan characters of his time.
Back in the year 1639, the space was part of the public jail, which remained there for 134 years. Subsequently, in the year 1869, it became the property of Rafael Albertos, who modified its exterior by building additional rooms.
Some years later, the central courtyard was occupied by the “Iris Theater”, renamed “Olympia”, and the “Independence” hall, used for social events.
Years went by and this site became a cinema, the “Cine Novedades“, which remained open to the public for decades, but was later abandoned.
And it was until April 1991 that the Land Use Planning Commission of the State of Yucatán (Comisión Ordenadora del Uso del Suelo del Estado de Yucatán: COUSEY) took possession of the property, transforming it into what we know today as “Pasaje Picheta”, featuring shops, cafes, restaurants, a travel agency and other small businesses.
But more recently, after being closed down for two years, Pasaje Picheta’s reopening on November 2019 was delayed for several reasons, including setbacks with the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), and mostly due to the fact that an “extreme makeover” was absolutely necessary for this space, which has a huge tourism potential, as it is located right in the heart of downtown Mérida.
Some of the improvements consisted on the installation of ornamental plants and the painting of colorful murals, similar to those the space boasted years ago, before the remodeling works started.
For now, people will only be able to access the ground floor where they will find 14 stores, including art galleries and temporary exhibition halls showcasing contemporary art, handicrafts, a currency exchange business and a clothing store.
On the top floor, remodeling works will continue for at least one or two months.
The Picheta Passage is open from 9 am to 5 pm.
The Yucatan Times Newsroom