Calle 53 and 61
Submitted by: Alan P Marrero
A public square in the heart of Merida.
The Plaza Mayor takes up the size of one full city block and is enclosed on four sides by two lane roads. The landscaping is a simple path system through various types of trees and bushes. There are many benches and low retention walls for sitting. Every Sunday is fair day in Merida. The paths are wide enough to support pedestrian traffic and vendors selling various foods and handicrafts. All roads are shut down within a block radius of the square. The festive atmosphere brings hundreds of local Merideņos, and it is not intended for tourists. There is even a live music performance in the streets at night.
What Makes Plaza Mayor a Great Place?
People are able to move freely through the square at any time of the day. It often has people walking through after visits to the Cathedral or any of the fine Yucatanese restaurants that border it.
At first look, you'll notice the high amount of people that are circulating through the square. This is a comforting image to someone who is not familiar with the safe and social atmosphere that is present in the streets of Merida. The vehicles yield to the pedestrians who are often crossing the streets to get from the square to the restaurants, hotels, municipal center, and the Cathedral.
The most popular use for the space is the Sunday Fair. But during the week, the space is utilized by people of all ages for social meetings, a place to eat lunch, and just a nice shaded area to go and relax.
The Plaza Mayor is a major focal point of Merida. The tourism office is located one block away and all tourists are encouraged to spend some time there. To get a quick taste of the culture and people of the city, the square is a great place to visit.
History & Background
The city of Merida was founded in 1542 by the conquistador Francisco Montejo, and is now the capital city of the state of Yucatan. Since the city's founding, the Plaza Mayor (Plaza of Independence) has been the center of cultural and commercial activity in Merida and is the site of many fine examples of Spanish colonial architecture.