The most iconic boulevard in Mérida is the Paseo de Montejo. In January 1888, with the support of a group of tax holders, industrialists, and merchants. The project to build the boulevard Paseo de Montejo aimed at modernizing the city in French style similar to the Champs Elysees in Paris. It was the boulevard to see and be seen. Over time, the Paseo was expanded three times. The Paseo de Montejo begins at Calle 47 at the southernmost end and is called The Remate. Continuing north on the Paseo de Montejo, you’ll find the Monumento a la Patria. As the city expanded, so did the Paseo de Montejo. Once you pass the Monumento a la Patria, the Paseo turns into Prolongation de Montejo or Prol. de Montejo. Meaning the “extension of the Paseo,” this boulevard continues until it connects north with Federal Highway 261, also known as the Periferico.
Paseo de Montejo and Prol. de Montejo
The Paseo de Montejo is the main boulevard running north and south. Orient yourself to the city by this large boulevard for the best navigation. Named after Francisco de Montejo, the Spanish conquistador who founded the city in 1542. The Paseo de Montejo is the most important avenue extending from the Santa Ana neighborhood to the exit to the port of Progreso. In the last decades of the nineteenth century, Yucatan experienced an era of economic boom from the henequen industry, then named “green gold.” At that particular time, the city did not have avenues.
Felipe Carillo Puerto Monument
At Calle 37 (by the Oxxo), stands the Felipe Carillo Puerto Monument. Politician, journalist and Mexican socialist revolutionary leader, Puerto was governor of Yucatán from 1922 to 1924. Known for social and educational works, in addition to the well-being of the Maya, he was overthrown by the Delahuertista rebels and then assassinated. He was romantically linked to the American journalist Alma Reed, who at the time, was a correspondent for the New York Times in Yucatán.
Justo Sierra Mendez Monument
At the Walmart/Fiesta Americana Glorieta is the monument dedicated to Justo Sierra Mendez, a Mexican writer, historian, journalist, poet, politician, and philosopher. Mendez was a supporter of and an integral part of reopening the National University of Mexico (UNAM) after the long periods of political conflict. Known as “Teacher of America”, a title awarded him by various universities in Latin America, he is considered one of the most influential figures in the modern history of Mexico.
Monumento a la Patria
The Monument to the Fatherland (or Homeland) began in 1945 by the Colombian sculptor Rómulo Rozo in collaboration with architect Manuel Amábilis Domínguez, Manuel’s son Max Amábilis, and master builder Víctor Nazario Ojeda. The construction lasted 11 years and was finally inaugurated on April 23, 1956. The monument is one of the most iconic structures in the city and the only one in the world to be carved entirely and directly in stone. It exhibits more than 300 hand-carved figures reflecting the history of Mexico from the founding of Tenochtitlán in pre-Hispanic Mexico to the most important events in the country’s history in the first half of the 20th century.
Originally dedicated only to the Mexican flag (also called Monumento a la Bandera), it was later decided it would graphically represent the history of Mexico in the most complete way possible, making it one of the few structures in the country to fulfill that purpose. In 2016, it was chosen as one of the Cultural Treasures of Mérida and is now part of the cultural emblems of humanity.
The southern most end of the emblematic Paseo de Montejo is called The Remate. You’ll find a monument to Francisco de Montejo “El Adelantado” (the one that came first) and his son “El Mozo”. This monument was erected in 2010, about the same time other areas were being cleaned up and remodeled (such as Santa Lucia park). There’s no doubt that the erection of the monument was controversial. Some regard the Montejos as murdering mercenaries. Others celebrate them as explorers ahead of their time. There’s yet another Montejo to add to this pair, the nephew called “El Sobrino”.
Notably, it took three campaigns and 20 years to conquer the Yucatan peninsula. While the conquest of the Yucatan peninsula had been achieved, the Maya revolted again. It was not until 1547 when “El Mozo” and “El Sobrino” were able to distinguish uprisings in most of the territory. Francisco de Montejo was governor and captain general of Yucatán from 1546. However, in 1550 he was accused of irregularities including committing abuse against the Maya. The pacification of the Maya undertaken by the Montejos, did not occur until 1697, 150 years later.
Final Thoughts on the Paseo de Montejo
Calle 60 was the old promenade avenue before the construction of the Paseo de Montejo. That’s why you also see smaller-scale mansions along this historic street. Calle 60 is the longest street in the city, terminating in Progreso. There’s a new and more modern road to Progreso now. Calle 59 was the first paved street in Mérida.
- Yucatan Peninsula
- City, Centro, & Downtown
- Ruta Puuc