Ateneo de Yucatán and Museum of Contemporary Art, Merida

Ateneo de Yucatán and Museum of Contemporary Art, Merida

The Fernando García Ponce Museum, also known as MACAY, serves as a vibrant showcase for Mexican artistic talent, featuring an array of national and international artists. It not only celebrates the work of these creators but also fosters a dynamic dialogue between local and foreign artists.

Nestled in the heart of Mérida's historic center, adjacent to the iconic Yucatán Cathedral, the museum occupies a building of immense historical significance. Originally known as the Athenaeum, the museum's name pays homage to its historical roots. Construction of this structure commenced between 1573 and 1579 under the auspices of Fray Diego de Landa, the Bishop of the Yucatán province. However, it wasn't until the episcopacy of Fray Gonzalo Salazar (1608 - 1636) that the building was completed and dedicated as the Archbishop's Palace.

The architectural evolution of this building mirrors the passage of time. Initially characterized by Franciscan simplicity and limited to a single story, it gradually transformed into its present-day incarnation, showcasing elegant French neoclassical design elements.

Throughout its storied history, the building served various purposes, including housing the chapels of San José and the Holy Rosary during the 17th century. Later, it became the Conciliar Seminary of Our Lady of the Rosary and San Ildefonso. In the 20th century, during General Salvador Alvarado's administration in 1916, the building was separated from the Cathedral, and the Passage of the Revolution, a striking iron and glass-roofed corridor connecting the two structures, was erected. Unfortunately, this passage was later dismantled.

General Salvador Alvarado transformed the building into an Athenaeum, offering the local population access to music, literature, and drawing classes, while also serving official purposes. However, it wasn't until 1993, during the governorship of Dulce María Sauri Riancho, that the building underwent a remarkable renaissance. Rescued from serious disrepair, the building was meticulously restored, and the museum was inaugurated in 1994.

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Ateneo de Yucatán and Museum of Contemporary Art on Map

Sight Name: Ateneo de Yucatán and Museum of Contemporary Art
Sight Location: Merida, Mexico (See walking tours in Merida)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Merida, Mexico

Create Your Own Walk in Merida

Create Your Own Walk in Merida

Creating your own self-guided walk in Merida is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Merida Introduction Walking Tour

Merida Introduction Walking Tour

Mérida, the capital of Yucatán, is one of the oldest cities in Mexico. Founded in 1542 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco de Montejo the Younger, it stands on the ruins of the thriving ancient Mayan city of Ti'ho and is a living testament to the intersection of two worlds – the pre-Hispanic Mayan civilization and Spanish colonialism.

The city was named after the Spanish town of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles