Yucatán

Henequen, trova and haciendas

Yucatan is a state that combines flavors, aromas and melodies of composers such as Ricardo Palmerin and famous Guty Cardenas, the two most important interpreters of a local musical genre known as trova yucateca.

Its history dates back to pre Columbian times, when a great variety of Maya ethnic groups inhabited all the peninsula, more than 2000 years ago.

Among the archaeological sites that you can’t miss there is Uxmal, a great Maya city which possesses an unmatched level of art and architecture.

During the colony, Yucatan became an important zone for producing henequen, an organic fiber which was produced for centuries in the region and was exported all over the World, upon the arrival of nylon in the Market, at the end of the 1930’s.

Many of the haciendas founded by the Spaniards still exist and many have transformed into interesting museums and boutique hotels, which are worth visiting, as they make us travel back in time, to those days of big haciendas and henequen fields.

Merida is the capital and largest city in Yucatan state and the cultural and financial capital of the region. It’s a modern, cosmopolitan city with museums, art galleries, restaurants, shops and boutiques. A major center of commerce, Merida Yucatan is considered the crossroads of the region and one of the most important places to experience the Mayan heritage.

Not only is Spanish spoken with a distinct accent in Yucatan, but Yucatec Maya is spoken by one third of the population of Yucatan state. The cuisine in Merida Yucatan is also distinct in that it differs from traditional Mexican cuisine and is representative of the local indigenous culture and the Caribbean, Mexican, European and Middle Eastern influences in the region.

The traditional music and dance of Yucatan is known as Vaqueria Regional. It plays an important role in the Vaquerías Feast which was originally associated with the branding of cattle on Yucatecan haciendas. You can catch weekly performances in Merida’s central plaza.

Chances are that you’ll spend at least part of your Yucatán vacation shopping for handicrafts. Merida is famous for the guayabera, a loose fitting men’s shirt with tucks and pockets. Traditional guayaberas are white, made from cotton or linen and often embroidered. Here you’ll also find hipiles, dresses or tunics worn by the indigenous women of the region. Hipiles are often white with colorful embroidered designs that traditionally convey some sort of meaning within the local community.

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