definition of Wikipedia
|— Yucatan —|
|City Founded||January 6, 1542|
|• Municipal President||Álvaro Omar Lara Pacheco (Interim as of January 20, 2012)|
|Elevation||10 m (30 ft)|
|• Density||858.41/km2 (2,223.3/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC−6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC−5)|
|Major Airport||Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport|
Mérida (pronounced: [ˈmeɾiða]) (T'hó' /d̥ʼχøʼ/ or Ichkanzihóo /isʃkan'siχœ/) (the original name in Modern Maya) is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Yucatán and the Yucatán Peninsula. It is located in the northwest part of the state, about 35 km (22 mi) from the Gulf of Mexico coast. The city is also the municipal seat of the Municipality of Mérida, which includes the city and the areas around it.
According to the 2010 census, the population of Mérida was 970,377, ranking 12th among the most populous Mexican metropolitan areas. The municipality's area is 858.41 km2 (331.43 sq mi). The metropolitan area includes the municipalities of Mérida, Umán and Kanasín and had a population of 1,035,238 in the same 2010 census. It is the largest of the four cities of the world that share the name Mérida, the other three being in Spain, Venezuela and The Philippines. The city like much of the state has heavy French, British and to a lesser extent Dutch influences. Merida has the highest percentage of indigenous persons of any large city in Mexico.
There were three Spanish conquistadors named "Francisco de Montejo", "El Adelantado" (father), Francisco de Montejo y León "el Mozo" (son), and Francisco de Montejo "el sobrino" (nephew). Mérida was founded in 1542 by Francisco de Montejo "el Mozo" (son). It was built on the site of the Maya city of T'ho (also known as Ichcaanzihó or "city of the five hills", referring to five pyramids) which had been a center of Mayan culture and activity for centuries. Because of this, many historians[who?] consider Mérida the oldest continually occupied city in the Americas.
Carved Maya stones from ancient T'ho were widely used to build the Spanish colonial buildings that are plentiful in downtown Mérida, and are visible, for instance, in the walls of the main cathedral. Much of Mérida's architecture from the colonial period through the 18th century and 19th century is still standing in the centro historicose follaron a una puta en la calle of the city. From colonial times through the mid 19th century, Mérida was a walled city intended to protect the Peninsular and Criollo residents from periodic revolts by the indigenous Maya. Several of the old Spanish city gates survive, but modern Mérida has expanded well beyond the old city walls.
Late in the 19th century and the early 20th Century, the area surrounding Mérida prospered from the production of henequén. For a brief period, around the turn of the 20th century, Mérida was said to house more millionaires than any other city in the world. The result of this concentration of wealth can still be seen today. Many large and elaborate homes still line the main avenue of Paseo de Montejo, though few are occupied today by individual families. Many of these homes have been restored and now serve as office buildings for banks and insurance companies.
Mérida has one of the largest centro historico districts in the Americas (surpassed only by Mexico City and Havana, Cuba). Colonial homes line the city streets to this day, in various states of disrepair and renovation; the historical center of Mérida is currently undergoing a minor renaissance as more and more people are moving into the old buildings and reviving their former glory.
In August 1993 Pope John Paul II visited the city on his third trip to Mexico. The city has been host to two bilateral United States – Mexico conferences, the first in 1999 (Bill Clinton – Ernesto Zedillo) and the second in 2007 (George W. Bush – Felipe Calderón).
In June 2007, Mérida moved its city museum to the renovated Post Office building next to the downtown market. The Museum of the City of Mérida houses important artifacts from the city's history, as well as an art gallery.
Mérida is the cultural and financial capital of the Yucatán Peninsula, as well as the capital city of the state of Yucatán. In recent years, important science competitions and World events were held in Mérida – FITA Archery World Cup Finals, the International Cosmic Ray Conference, a Physics Olympiad, etc.
Mérida is located in the Northwest part of the state of Yucatán, which occupies the northern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula. To the east is the state of Quintana Roo, to the west is the state of Campeche, to the north is the Gulf of Mexico, and far to the south is the state of Chiapas. The city is also located in the Chicxulub Crater. It has a very flat topography and is only 30 feet (9 m) above sea level. The land outside of Mérida is covered with smaller scrub trees and former henequen fields. Almost no surface water exists, but several cenotes (underground springs and rivers) are found across the state. Mérida has a centro historico typical of colonial Spanish cities. The street grid is based on odd-numbered streets running east/west and even-numbered streets running north/south, with Calles 60 and 61 bounding the "Plaza Grande" in the heart of the city. The more affluent neighborhoods are located to the north and the most densely populated areas are to the south. The Centro Historico area is becoming increasingly popular with American and other expats who are rescuing and restoring the classic colonial structures. The Los Angeles Times recently noted this surge of interest in rescuing Mérida's historic downtown.
Merida features a tropical wet and dry climate. The city lies in the trade wind belt close to the Tropic of Cancer, with the prevailing wind from the east. Mérida's climate is hot and humidity is moderate to high, depending on the time of year. The average annual high temperature is 33 °C (91 °F), ranging from 28 °C (82 °F) in January to 36 °C (97 °F) in May, but temperatures often rise above 38 °C (100 °F) in the afternoon in this time. Low temperatures range between 18 °C (64 °F) in January to 23 °C (73 °F) in May and June. It is most often a few degrees hotter in Mérida than coastal areas due to its inland location and low elevation. The rainy season runs from June through October, associated with the Mexican monsoon which draws warm, moist air landward. Easterly waves and tropical storms also affect the area during this season.
|Climate data for Mérida|
|Average high °C (°F)||31.3
|Average low °C (°F)||17.0
|Rainfall mm (inches)||38.2
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm)||3.8||3.0||2.6||1.7||4.5||10.4||12.9||12.6||13.5||9.7||5.8||4.6||85.1|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||207.7||209.1||241.8||255.0||272.8||231.0||244.9||248.0||207.0||217.0||213.0||201.5||2,748.8|
|Source: Weatherbase |
Mérida has been nicknamed "The White City", though the exact origin of this moniker is not clear. Some explanations include the common color of its old buildings painted and decorated with "cal" (though anyone visiting modern Mérida can see that buildings are not all white nowadays) or the fact that the residents keep the city particularly clean. Mérida was named after the Spanish town of the same name, originally (in Latin) Augusta Emerita (see Mérida, Spain). Mérida served as the American Capital of Culture in the year 2000.
As the state and regional capital, Mérida is a cultural center, featuring multiple museums, art galleries, restaurants, movie theatres and shops. Mérida retains an abundance of beautiful colonial buildings and is a vibrant cultural center with music and dancing playing an important part in day-to-day life. At the same time it is a modern city boasting a comprehensive range of shopping malls, auto dealerships, top quality hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities. The famous avenue, Paseo de Montejo, is lined with original sculpture. Each year, the MACAY Museum in Mérida mounts a new sculpture installation, featuring works from Mexico and one other chosen country. Each exhibit remains for ten months of the year. In 2007, sculptures on Paseo de Montejo feature works by artists from Mexico and Japan.
Mérida and the state of Yucatán have traditionally been isolated from the rest of the country by geography, creating a unique culture. The conquistadors found the Mayan culture to be incredibly resilient, and their attempts to eradicate Mayan tradition, religion and culture had only moderate success. The surviving remnants of the Mayan culture can be seen every day, in speech, dress, and in both written and oral histories. It is especially apparent in holidays like Hanal Pixan, a Mayan/Catholic Day of the Dead celebration. It falls on November 1 and 2 (one day for adults, and one for children) and is commemorated by elaborate altars dedicated to dead relatives. It is a compromise between the two religions with crucifixes mingled with skull decorations and food sacrifices/offerings. Múkbil pollo (pronounced/'mykβil pʰoʎoˀ/) is the Mayan tamal pie offered to the dead on All Saints' Day, traditionally accompanied by a cup of hot chocolate. Many Yucatecans enjoying eating this on and around the Day of Dead. And, while complicated to make, they can be purchased and even shipped via air. (Muk-bil literally means "to put in the ground" or to cook in a pib, an underground oven).
For English speakers or would-be speakers, Mérida has the Mérida English Library, a lending library with an extensive collection of English books, videos, tapes and children's books. The library is also the site for expatriate meetings, children's storytelling hours and other cultural events.
Yucatecan food is its own unique style and is very different from what most people consider "Mexican" food. It includes influences from the local Mayan culture, as well as Caribbean, Mexican, European and Middle Eastern cultures.
There are many regional dishes. Some of them are:
Achiote is the most popular spice in the area. It is derived from the hard annatto seed found in the region. The whole seed is ground together with other spices and formed into a reddish seasoning paste, called recado rojo. The other ingredients in the paste include cinnamon, allspice berries, cloves, Mexican oregano, cumin seed, sea salt, mild black peppercorns, apple cider vinegar, and garlic. The most popular Mexican hot sauce, El Yucateco hot sauce, is made in Mérida, Yucatán. Hot sauce in Mérida is usually made from the indigenous chiles in the area which include: Chile Xcatik, Chile Seco de Yucatán, and Chile Habenero.
The Spanish spoken in the Yucatán is readily identifiable as different, even to non-native ears. It is heavily influenced by the Spanish accent and Yucatec Maya language, which is spoken by a third of the population of the State of Yucatán. The Mayan language is melodic, filled with explosive consontants (p', k' and t') and "sh" sounds (represented by the letter "x" in the Mayan language).
Being enclosed by the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, and with poor land communication with the rest of Mexico, Yucatecan Spanish has also preserved many words that are no longer used in many other Spanish speaking areas of the world. However, with the improvement in transportation and especially with the overwhelming presence of radio, internet and TV, their isolation has eroded, and many elements of the culture and language of the rest of Mexico are now slowly but consistently permeating the culture.
Apart from the Mayan language, which is still the mother-tongue of many yucatecans, students now choose to learn a foreign language like English, which is taught in most schools.
City Service is mostly provided by 4 local transportation companies: Unión de Camioneros de Yucatán (UCY), Alianza de Camioneros de Yucatán (ACY), Rápidos de Mérida, y Minis 2000. Bus Transportation is at the same level or better than that of bigger cities like Guadalajara or Mexico City. Climate Controlled buses and Micro-Bus ( smaller in size ) are not uncommon.
The Main Bus Terminal (CAME) offers 1st. Class (ADO) and luxury services (UNO) to most southern Mexico cities outside Yucatán with a fleet consisting of Mercedez Benz and Volvo buses. Shorter intrastate routes are serviced by many smaller terminals around the city, mainly in downtown.
Several groups and unions offer Taxi transportation : Frente Único de los Trabajadores del Volante (FUTV) ( white taxis ), Unión de Taxistas Independientes (UTI), Radiotaxímetros de Yucatán, among others. Some of them offer metered service, but most work based on a flat rate depending on destination. Competition has made it of more common use than it was years ago.
Taxis can be either found at one of many predefined places around the city ( Taxi de Sitio ), waved off along the way or called in by Radio.
Unlike the sophisticated RF counterparts in the US, a Civil Band radio is used and is equally effective. Usually a taxi will respond and arrive within 5 minutes.
Another type of Taxi service is called "Colectivo". Colectivo taxis work like small buses on a predefined route and for a small fare. Usually accommodating 8 to 10 people.
Mérida is serviced by Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport with daily non-stop services to major cities in Mexico (D.F, Monterrey, Villahermosa, Cancún, Guadalajara, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Toluca) and international (Miami, Houston, La Havana) and usually receiving charter flight services to and from Europe and Canada. Also there is a good amount of freight and cargo planes moving in and out. As of 2006 more than a millon passengers were using this airport every year, (1.3 in 2007) and it is under ASUR administration.
There is no passenger train service to the city (which is generally the case for Mexican cities), although freight trains do serve the area.
Main roads in and out of Mérida:
Mérida has many regional hospitals and medical centers. All of them offer full services for the city and in case of the Regional Hospitals for the whole Yucatán peninsula and neighboring states.
The city has one of the most prestigious medical faculties in Mexico (UADY). Proximity to American cities like Houston allow local Doctors to crosstrain and practice in both countries making Mérida one of the best cities in Mexico in terms of health services availability.
In 2000 the Mérida municipality had 244 preschool institutions, 395 elementary, 136 Jr. high school (2 years middle school, 1 high), 97 High Schools and 16 Universities/Higher Education schools. Merida has consistently held the status of having the best performing public schools in Mexico since 1996.
There are several state institutions offering higher education:
Among several private institutions:
Mérida has several national research centers. Among them
Mérida is the Yucatán state capital. State government officials reside here and its also the base for the Mérida Municipality. "El Ayuntamiento" is constituted by an elected major, assembly representatives and síndicos. The previous Mayor was César Bojórquez from Partido Acción Nacional and was appointed on July 2, 2007. The current mayor is Angelica Araujo Lara, from the PRI and she took office on July 1, 2010. State Governor is Mrs. Ivonne Ortega Pacheco also appointed July 2, 2007.
Current consular representations in Mérida are:
Three local shopping centers were created in the 80s and still exist, although now they mostly cater to locals and have banks and government offices for everyday business:
In the 90s and early '01 two other centers with the major "American mall" look and feel opened.
2007 was the most dynamic in commercial activity and 3 new shopping malls opened to the public:
2008 Saw the opening of two new shopping centers.
Several facilities can be found where to practice sports:
|Leones de Yucatán||Beisbol||Liga Mexicana de Beisbol||Estadio de Béisbol Kukulkán|
|F.C. Itzaes||Fútbol||Segunda División de México||Estadio Carlos Iturralde|
|Mérida F.C.||Fútbol||Liga de Ascenso de México||Estadio Carlos Iturralde|
|Mayas de Yucatán||Baloncesto||Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional||Gimnasio Polifuncional|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Mérida, Yucatán|
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