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March 4, 2006
?Home ??Mexico Travel Guide ??Merida Travel Guide ??Explore Merida ??North of the Plaza Mayor
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:: North of the Plaza Mayor ::


A lot of the monuments in M?rida lie north of the z?calo, with C 60 and later the Paseo de Montejo as their focus. Calle 60 is one of the city's main commercial streets, lined with several of the fancier hotels and restaurants. It also boasts a series of colonial buildings, starting with the seventeenth-century Jesuit Iglesia de Jes?s , between the Plaza Hidalgo and the Parque de la Madre. Beside it on C 59 is the Cepeda Peraza Library , full of vast nineteenth-century tomes; a little further down C 59, the Pinacoteca Virreinal houses a rather dull collection of colonial artworks and modern sculptures in a former church. Continuing up C 60, you reach the Teatro Pe?n Contreras , a grandiose Neoclassical edifice built by Italian architects in the heady days of Porfirio D?az and recently restored. The university is opposite.

The Museo de Arte Popular (Tues-Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 8am-2pm; free) in the former monastery of La Mejorada, C 59 between C 50 and C 48, displays a fine collection of the different styles of indigenous dress found throughout Mexico. The rich wood and glass cases show huipiles (the long white dresses embroidered with colourful flowers at the neck, worn by Maya women), jewellery and household items, while old black-and-white photos provide glimpses of village life and ceremonials. At the rear of the museum you can stock up on souvenirs at the really good artesan?a shop.

One block north of the Teatro Pe?n Contreras, the sixteenth-century Iglesia Santa Luc?a stands on the elegant plaza of the same name - a colonnaded square that used to be the town's stagecoach terminus. Finally, three blocks further on, there's the Plaza Santa Ana , a modern open space where you turn right and then second left to reach the Paseo de Montejo.

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