Merida was built in the 16th century by orders of the Montejo family of Spanish Conquistadores over the Maya city of Ti'ho, which had been in existence for centuries earlier. Some carved Maya stones from ancient Ti'ho are still visible reused in some Spanish Colonial buildings. Some Maya still use the ancient name Ti'ho when referring to Merida. Much of Merida's architecture from the Colonial period, through the 18th century and 19th century is evident in the central portion of the town. From colonial times through the mid 19th century Merida was a walled city to protect the Spanish and Ladino residents from periodic revolts by the indigenous Maya. Several of the old Spanish city gates survive, but modern Merida has expanded well beyond the old city walls.
Warm-hot humid weather. Mérida and the state of Yucatán are somewhat isolated form the rest of the country, and it shows in many things. Race: many inhabitants are Mayan descendants. Slow paced, witty, romantic and happy. Food: the food is great, with a strong Mayan influence. Language and accent: very marked Yucatan accent in the local Spanish. The Maya language can still be heard spoken. Several Spanish expressions are used with their Mayan meaning. Music: La Trova Yucateca is a very nice, romantic music style, the traditional jarana is also popular.
Merida is well known for its excellent hammocks, which do not stretch when you use them.
Merida is nicknamed "The White City" both for a common color of its buildings and the fact that the residents keep the city particularly clean.