Cathedral of Mérida (Cathedral of Merida), Merida

Cathedral of Mérida (Cathedral of Merida), Merida (must see)

The Cathedral of Mérida stands as a magnificent testament to both the grandeur of Spanish colonial architecture and the rich history of Yucatán. Its construction, initiated in 1561 and completed in 1598, marked a significant milestone in the colonial era, making it the second cathedral to grace the Americas, following the Cathedral of Santo Domingo in 1550.

This architectural marvel, steeped in history, draws inspiration from Andalusia, with a design reminiscent of Spanish cathedrals. As the seat of the bishopric of Yucatán, it occupies a sacred space that was once home to Mayan ruins in T'ho, adding layers of significance to its foundations.

A defining feature of the cathedral is its remarkable system of vaulting, a structural innovation influenced by the ideas of the Spanish architect Andres de Vandelvira. This innovative vaulting system, derived from Vandelvira's work on the Cathedral of Jaén, showcases the cathedral's commitment to blending European design principles with New World ambitions. Notably, it is believed that the plans and concepts of Vandelvira were introduced to the Mérida project by the first bishop of Yucatán, fray Francisco Toral, himself hailing from Ubeda in the Jaén province.

References to the cathedral's presence can even be found in the ancient Books of Chilam Balam, underscoring its deep-rooted connection to the region's history and spirituality.

The cathedral's facade, adorned with intricate details, once displayed the Spanish royal coat of arms, featuring gold castles and crowned lions—a symbol of Spain's monarchs. At its pinnacle, a representation of the royal crown of Spain proudly adorned the crest. However, the winds of change brought by Mexico's independence stirred anti-Spanish sentiment, leading to the partial destruction of the shield. The central elements, housing the castles and lions, were chiseled away in symbolic defiance. In 1824, the void left behind was transformed, as a Mexican eagle, wearing the imperial crown of Iturbide.

The facade of the cathedral is graced by statues of St. Peter and St. Paul. St. Paul, recognized by the sword and book he holds, stands in honor of his apostolic role. St. Peter, meanwhile, is depicted clutching the keys to the Church, symbolizing his spiritual authority.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Merida. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Cathedral of Mérida (Cathedral of Merida) on Map

Sight Name: Cathedral of Mérida (Cathedral of Merida)
Sight Location: Merida, Mexico (See walking tours in Merida)
Sight Type: Religious
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