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Merida authentic city // Mexico

Merida authentic city // Mexico

Posted by Fabrice Gilbert in Scouting

Dilapidated but still grand, the colonial city of Mérida was once home to the greatest concentration of wealth in the world. It was the sisal barons of the 19th century who hired Parisian architects to build the opulent villas along Paseo de Montejo, a wannabe Champs-Elysées. Yet Mérida, the inland capital of Mexico’s beach-famous Yucatán, is not an Important City and herein lies its charm. It is not packed with visitors. You never feel you are trudging the well-worn path of someone else’s Grand Tour. The white horse-drawn carriages gaudily decorated with lurid fake flowers bear more Mexican families than foreigners as they clip-clop along.

Like Havana, for which the city doubled in the film Before Night Falls, the historical centre known simply as Centro has had a Unesco makeover. It’s not always easy to spot. While the cobbled streets are mostly swept, and the gardens of the Plaza Grande are manicured and in flower – its glossy-leaved trees sculpted into squat oblongs or perfect spheres – still the tangled wiring of telephones and electricity hangs low and wild, and local buses belch black fumes as they charge down the narrow streets.

There are as many derelict buildings as there are restored ones. Here a newly painted white façade with Yves Klein-blue brickwork, there a faded terracotta one with peeling, panelled shutters. All are secured by old iron bars. Peer into a run-down house, with windows hanging off their hinges, and you’ll see impressively proportioned rooms with intricately tiled floors just visible through the layers of dust, an overgrown tropical courtyard and, as an estate agent might phrase it, bags of potential…

http://www.cntraveller.com

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31 Juil 2014