Merida (Yucatan state) Merida was founded in 1542 on the site of an ancient Mayan city. Residents speak both Spanish and Mayan. During the 19th century, Merida flourished, thanks to its valuable hemp exports. The city enjoyed an influx of European luxuries and, today, remains full of visible legacies and lavishly decorated homes from that prosperous time. Called "The Paris of the Western World," Merida exudes a distinctly European air. Horse-drawn calesas cruise the streets and take ...

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