In an effort to convey you some new voices on Ottsworld, here’s a visitor submit from traveler Vicki Hill. Vicki is an efficient pal of mine who traveled with me to Merida Mexico. It was her first journey to Mexico and her pleasure for the tradition was infectious. Like the nice curious traveler she is, she unintentionally discovered one of many coolest and little-known tales in Merida so I requested her to put in writing about it! All opinions, experiences, and images listed below are hers. – Sherry
On my first day in Mexico, I walked via the slender streets of Merida’s historic middle alone, fortunately taking in all the brand new websites and sounds. There have been so many! Brightly painted boxy houses-pink, blue, inexperienced and yellow- constructed so shut to at least one one other however blended in with bakeries, taquerias, small convenience-type shops and retailers. I watched motorbikes, buses, vans, tiny automobiles & bicycles flying by on uneven brick streets. And I handed so many pleasant welcoming smiles & greetings from the locals.
However on that very first stroll in direction of the sq., my eyes noticed a darkish purple and white stone plaque; mounted up excessive on the nook of a constructing. I rapidly crossed the road, observed the Spanish phrase for the image engraved on the stone & took a photograph. This might turn out to be my loopy obsession at some stage in my time in Merida. My touring companions can attest that I used to be at all times shouting, “Hey, I’ll catch up,” as I rushed throughout the streets to each nook the place I noticed these carved plaques. I used to be so curious to study them.
We had a beautiful tour with Raul from Excursions by Locals on our third day in Merida. And I couldn’t wait to ask him about these fascinating items of artwork caught on so many corners. He known as them Stone Plates.
Discovering Your Approach Across the Merida Historic Middle
When the Spanish conquered the previous Mayan Metropolis of T’ho, they structured all of the streets in an ideal sq. grid. Not by any names, simply numbers—North to South even numbers; East to West avenue named with odd numbers.
So, the nook you wished to search out or meet at is likely to be at 65 & 42. It may appear fairly simple to navigate now, however it was complicated to many on the time within the newly constructed metropolis. To assist those that didn’t perceive or couldn’t learn, they’d use nook landmarks to explain the place a selected location was—like “by the bronze statue” or “close to the two-faced mural,” and so forth.
Corners are Key
Nook store house owners started to call their companies after individuals, locations, occasions, or animals to make it simpler to navigate the town. And earlier than lengthy, enterprise house owners sought out nook buildings as a result of they have been simple to find.
However, over time, plenty of these nook landmarks disappeared. Then, the town authorities started making the Stone Plates of purple and white plaster, putting them on corners all through the town. A number of the plates are very outdated, and a few are more moderen, however each outdated and new preserve the historical past of the town corners alive. And, it appears, every plate has a narrative, occasion, or legend behind it…or had one. It was troublesome to search out a lot details about these little items of artwork, however right here’s a tiny style of their historical past.
Learn extra about our journey and get a whole listing of
Native Issues to Do in Merida Mexico
Historic Nook Markers
On the nook of Los Dos Camellos” (the 2 camels) is the story of a Lebanese immigrant who introduced a pair (female and male) of camels right here with the hope that they’d reproduce, however with out success.
Merida Stone Plaques Inform a Story
“El Polvorín” (powder keg) is the place an explosion occurred in a gunpowder warehouse.
The legend of the “La Tucha” (a monkey) is that a good looking younger wealthy lady was was a monkey for being too impolite.
And, on the nook of “El Loro” (the parrot) is the story about two outdated girls that owned a blind parrot. When it died, the girl changed it with a parrot statue. So, everybody referred to ‘the nook of the parrot”.
And the one plaque (& statue) I used to be unsuccessful discovering (however it wasn’t with out attempting!) is the story of “El Elefante” (the elephant). Courting again to the 1830s is an elephant statue on prime of a roof positioned by the enterprise proprietor to make his place stand out. The plate is of an elephant & it’s the identify of the nook.
Some plates are named after native bushes akin to “El Tamarindo” (the tamarind), “El Limón” (the lime) or “El Almendro” (the almond). There are various plates with animals footage like “El Venadito” (the little deer), “El Pato” (the duck), “Los Dos Toros” (the 2 bulls). Some replicate the climate like “El Huracán” (the hurricane), “El Ciclón” (the cyclone).
The Unknown Tales – A Motive to Go Again to Merida
However there are a lot of I discovered names for, however no tales and I might like to know their historical past: “El Chévere” (The Cool Man), “El Salto de la Pulga” (The Leap of the Flea), “El Besito” (The Little Kiss), “El Mono Suelto” (The Free Monkey), “La Chaparrita” (the brief lady), and “El Imposible” (the unattainable).
However the one which had us all stumped was “El Autogiro” (the helicopter). This one couldn’t be very outdated and I wish to know its story!
In my analysis, I discovered the variety of plates starting from 170 to over 600—I’d guess the primary quantity is nearer; the historic middle just isn’t that massive. They don’t seem to be on each nook, however as I walked and walked all through my week in Merida, my eyes have been at all times drawn to the corners, trying to find plates.
I ended up taking photographs of 33 Stone Plates…all manner above my head, normally taken in a rush & some at night time. It was positively an surprising a part of my journey to Mexico, however one I really loved, and it’s been enjoyable to search out out extra about this a part of Merida’s historical past.
Concerning the Writer:
Vicki Hill is an avid solo automobile camper and hiker. She has shared her fantastic