Our hotel is named after a saint and the rooms all have Mayan names. Our room is “Kabah,” named after the Mayan city that sat where Merida is today.. Our hotel took its name from the old church next door. And just a few blocks from it sits the oldest cathedral in the Americas, from the 1500s. As if that’s a big deal. The Mayans had an advanced civilization here well before the Spanish arrived.
I’ve added to my holy card collection since we arrived and we’ve been in and out of the old churches but we’ve also been to the Museo de Antropología e Historia and the Palacio del Gobierno del Estado de Yucatán with its magnificent but gruesome murals depicting the conquest with firearms, horses and the cross. The beautiful old stone “false idols” are destroyed and with their auto-da-fé’ the conquerors forced the Mayans to worship Christ. Even the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Ateneo de Yucatán threw these ugly truths in your face. Merida today is a wildly friendly and safe place but we carry a load of guilt around with us.