Casa Montejo in Merida, Mexico’s only Renaissance-style house

Photo: Mexico Desconocido

The site currently holds the Casa Montejo Museum, however, during colonial times it was a mansion where Francisco de Montejo lived.

Casa Montejo is one of the great tourist attractions in the center of the city of Mérida, Yucatán.

Currently, the site houses the Casa Montejo Museum, however during colonial times it was a mansion where Francisco de Montejo, better known as “El Mozo”, lived.

History of Casa Montejo

In 1542, after conquering the Yucatan Peninsula, Francisco de Montejo ordered the layout of the city of Merida. To do so, he started from the central point that would be known as the Plaza de Armas.

Photo: Mexico Desconocido

In the center of the city would be established the symbols of power of that time. The church would be to the east of the plaza; to the west a Mayan structure that was maintained until the 18th century; to the north would be the royal houses; and to the south the Montejo family mansion.

So Casa Montejo was built in a period of seven years, between 1524 and 1549. The Montejo family would live in this place for years to come, generation after generation. According to Fomento Cultural Banamex, this property “is the only example of a Renaissance-style civil house in Mexico”.

The architecture of the place was inspired by the Renaissance style known as Plateresque. However, over time the mansion underwent several modifications.
One of these changes was made in 1896 when, under the instructions of the Montejo family, the façade of the place was modified for a French architectural style. Today the vestiges of its design can be seen in what remains of the façade.

Photo: Mexico Desconocido

Originally, Casa Montejo had more than 13,000 square meters of land. However, little by little the land was divided and sold to different buyers.

The descendants of the Montejo family ceased to own the house in 1972. By 1981, the National Bank of Mexico (Banamex) acquired the house and restored it.

The museum

Photo: Mexico Desconocido

Between 2007 and 2010, the Banamex Foundation carried out a second restoration to adapt the place to house the Casa Montejo Museum.
The museum has four permanent exhibition rooms. They show the lifestyle of Yucatán’s ruling families during the 19th and 20th centuries.

During the tour you will pass through the most important parts of what remains of the house, such as the dining room, the living room, the office and the bedroom.

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