The Zócalo: the main, central plaza in Mexican villages, towns and cities. The central plaza is like the heart of town. In Aztec times, the zócalo was a gathering place, and the site where rituals, ceremonies and parades would take place. This is a legacy that continues nowadays, as the zócalo often is the center of national events, concerts and festivals. Often adorned by a church, usually dating back to the days of colonization, the zócalo is (a little tip for you) the location you would usually refer to to check how well located your lodgings are.

Mérida, Yucatán, was founded in 1542 by the Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Montejo. Mérida has one of the largest centro historico districts in the Americas, with large and small colonial homes lining the city streets in various states of restoration and renovation. The zócalo is where a tremendous amount of activities take place for locals and tourists alike. In smaller towns, people gather there in the evening, and such gatherings do maintain and build community ties.

Last night, I went to see if the Christmas decorations were up at the zócalo, and they were! As you know, Christmas is a big affair here. Baby Jesus will not make his appearance for another few days, but everyone is waiting.

I also loved how creatively and beautifully the city is imposing social distancing: plants instead of ugly yellow tape and other such horrendous apparatus.

The cathedral, whose construction began in 1562 and finished in 1598, is not the prettiest church in Mexico with its sober façade, but it was the first cathedral to be finished on the mainland of the Americas, and the only one (with the exception of Santo Domingo de Guzman on the island of Hispaniola) to be entirely built during the 16th century. Its architectural style is Moorish in the towers and interior while the façade is Renaissance. Baroque altarpieces adorn some of its walls. I think this monument is at its best in the evening when lights shine on it.

I hope you will find these pictures as pleasant as this area is.


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