Opened in 2012, Gran Museo del Mundo Maya (the Great Museum of the Mayan World) offers a comprehensive overview of Maya history across the centuries, spanning pre-Hispanic, colonial and post-colonial times. The building’s exterior is shaped like a ceiba, a sacred tree believed to connect the heavens to the earth and underworld.
2. Casa Montejo
The 16th-century family home of the founder of Mérida, Francisco de Montejo y León, Casa Montejo houses four rooms furnished in Victorian, neo-rococo and neo-Renaissance styles. Most of the home’s furniture and artwork belonged to the Montejo family, who lived in the residence until at least the 19th century.
The Museo de Arte Popular de Yucatán is a treasure trunk filled with colourful Mexican crafts including hand-woven textiles, tree of life sculptures, ceramics, papier mâché dolls and alebrijes (sculptures). Though the name implies a focus on the Yucatecan, the displays reflect the rich wealth of craftsmanship found across Mexico.
As one of the only contemporary art museums in the Yucatán Peninsula, Museo Fernando García Ponce-Macay showcases paintings, drawings, installations and sculptures from the 20th and 21st centuries. Included in its collection are works by the Mérida-born painter Fernando Castro Pacheco, abstract painter Gabriel Ramírez Aznar and collage artist Fernando García Ponce.
[This story appears in the February 2020 edition of WestJet Magazine.]
Experience a Sacred Mayan Journey in Mexico’s Mayan Riviera
Each spring, local residents, many of Maya descent, recreate a sacred journey from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel in Mexico's Mayan Riviera. The purpose of the ancient pilgrimage was to bring offerings to Ixchel, the goddess of fertility and medicine.