Merida is rich in culture, history

Palacio Municipal, Merida. Photo by Israel Reza

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]estled away in the Yucatan Valley, there rests the sleepy city of Merida. The city, with its now emerging technology industry, has long been a cultural stopping point for curious expats and tourists from across the globe thanks to the city’s location.

Resting about 40 miles from the tip of Mexico by the Gulf, Merida has enjoyed a unique take on its history and culture over the years thanks to its out-of-the-way geographic location from centralized Mexico.

Much of the city’s roots are imbedded in its Mayan and folk traditions.

The city is home to the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya. With its modern glass façade, the museum hosts an assortment of ancient Mayan relics recovered from across Central America. History buffs beware; the extensive collection is known to take up many hours of your time.

But for tourists who want to walk among the kingdom of the Maya, Merida is a great hub for day trips to Mayan ruins. The grandest, and one of the most complete complexes of the Mayan civilization, Chichen Itza is about an hour and a half away by bus. Several tour operators in the city can organize the trip but local busses roll past the site daily.

The site of Chichen Itza spans about 2.5 square miles and can be toured in a day. Globetrotters from across the planet come to the site to see the Mayan pyramids, shrines and ancient games courts. It’s difficult to not bask in the glory of the 7th Century’s majestic city and “New Seven Wonders of the World.”

Merida’s isn’t just stuck in the distant past, though.

The city’s Historic Center keeps to its folk roots, a combination of conquistadors and indigenous practices, every week right in front of City Hall, and on Sundays different bands play traditional salsa and cumbia music.

On Monday nights, the Historic Center presents the jarana, a traditional folk dance, according to the city’s tourism page.

So while the city emerges as one of Mexico’s leading technology giants, Merida continues to acknowledge its past, thus making the city a must stop location for anyone interested in culture and the arts.

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