History of the City
"The White and Romantic City"
Established on top of the old Mayan city of T'Ho, built majestically in white, Mérida is the capital of the Yucatan peninsula.
The conquerors, astonished by the splendor of the pre-Hispanic monuments of T'Ho, named the area after the beautiful Roman city of Mérida in Spain.
From its foundation on January 6th of 1542 by Francisco de Montejo, Mérida’s remarkable reputation has been a testimony to its people and culture. Well-deserving of its status, the history and charm of the ancient Mayans has been preserved throughout centuries.
Mérida’s popular designation as “The White City” is significant for several reasons: the lightly colored facades of its buildings, its safe and clean streets, its brilliance under the luminosity of the sun and the white clothing commonly worn by its inhabitants.
The city is characterized by a rich cultural atmosphere, its friendly people who are sincerely attached to the noble Mayan traditions and the provincial enchantment innately present thanks to its colonial past.
The second part of Mérida’s moniker can be attributed to the generous and affectionate attitude of its inhabitants toward locals and visitors alike, as well as the inspiration for romance that is encountered in the atmosphere of the historic setting.
Like many metropolitan cities of America, Mérida was designed with a broad layout, the streets branching outward from a central plaza. Pleasantly shaded by laurels from India, this plaza is surrounded on its four sides by some of the most venerable buildings of the city.
At sunset, the plaza is where Meridians and troubadours meet to enjoy the fresh air in the middle of the beautiful buildings, radiantly illuminated as the sun’s last rays catch their skillful architecture.
Lastly, and possibly the most romantic reason, the label is earned thanks to the genuine passion residents and travelers feel for Mérida.
Surrounded by magnificent historical, cultural and geographical settings, the white city of Mérida is the departure point of many one-day excursions thanks to its convenient location in the heart of the ancient Mayan world. All of these features help to make Mérida the best-kept secret of the Yucatan and one of the most treasured cities of Mexico.