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Cheap flights to Paris from Mérida

Mérida is the capital and largest city in Yucatan state in Mexico, as well as the largest city of the Yucatán Peninsula. The city is located in the northwest part of the state, about 35 kilometres (22 miles) off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The city is also the municipal seat of the Municipality of Mérida, which includes the city and the areas around it.

According to the 2015 census, the population of Mérida was 892,363, ranking 14th among the most populous Mexican cities. The Greater Mérida metropolitan area includes the municipalities of Mérida, Umán and Kanasín and had a population of 1,035,238 in the 2010 census. The municipality’s area is 858.41 km2 (331.43 sq mi). Among the four cities that share the same name around the world, it is the largest -the other three being in Spain, Venezuela, and the Philippines.

The city, similarly to much of the state, has heavy Mayan, Spanish, French, British, Lebanese and to a lesser extent Dutch influences. Mérida has the highest percentage of indigenous population within any large city in Mexico. The Maya are approximately 60% of the population.

There were three Spanish conquistadors named “Francisco de Montejo”: Francisco de Montejo “el Adelantado” (“The Lieutenant”, the eldest); Francisco de Montejo y León “el Mozo” (“The Boy”, his son); and Francisco de Montejo “el Sobrino” (“The Nephew”). Mérida was founded in 1542 by Montejo y León (“el Mozo”) and named after the town of Mérida in Extremadura, Spain. It was built on the site of the Maya city of T’hó (/d̥ʼχøʼ/), which was also called Ichkanzihóo or Ichcaanzihó (/isʃkan’siχœ/; “City of Five Hills”) in reference to its pyramids. T’ho had been a center of Mayan culture and activity for centuries: because of this, some historians[who?] consider Mérida the oldest continually-occupied city in the Americas.

Carved Maya stones from ancient T’ho were used to build the Spanish colonial buildings which are numerous in downtown Mérida; these stones 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 historico 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 called 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. Korean immigration to Mexico began in 1905 when more than a thousand people arrived in Yucatán from the city of Incheon. These first Korean migrants settled around Mérida as workers in henequen plantations.

Mérida has one of the largest centro histórico 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 hosted the VI Summit of Association of Caribbean States, in 2014.

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 have been held in Mérida – FITA Archery World Cup Finals, the International Cosmic Ray Conference, a Physics Olympiad, etc.

 

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