Today’s “barrio” (neighborhood) of Santiago was the first indigenous village that the conquerors found when they entered T’hó, the Maya city where Mérida is now located, and it was they who decided on the name Santiago, Patron of Spain. Today this barrio is a favorite of visitors and locals alike.
Note the robust façade of this beautiful church. On the side walls you will see that the temple is reinforced by 15 buttresses, and the roof appears to have been cut in waves, giving an appearance of strength. On the side entrance there are Fransiscan shields, a cross set upon a skeleton, and the main façade has two sculptures on its stone doorways, probably dedicated to San Miguel Arcángel and to Christ Transfiguration.
Interesting fact: this church contains the burial of the heart of (friar) Fray Luis de Piña y Mazo, one of the first bishops of Yucatán.
As well as the various images dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is the image of the beloved Santiago Apostle in the presbytery’s wood altarpiece, who this church is dedicated to.
Santiago park and market
The “Parque de Santiago” is large and bustling, and surrounds the parish of Santiago Apostle. This corner of the Yucatecan capital is an important meeting point where thousands come for the delicious food at the traditional stalls of the market, Mercado Santos Degollado, famous also for its flowers, just to one side of the church; or have a coffee and chat with a friend at the old, iconic café La Flor de Santiago. In the same area there is a cultural center, a cinema, galleries, and schools, including the long-established Nicolás Bravo, which with its activities contributes to the personality of this active, busy barrio.
Here, since 1984, thanks to the Banda del Recuerdo (band of memories) there is a must-see event for those who enjoy the fun of good dancing and music. “Remembranzas Musicales” brings together many people from the neighborhood and tourists from Mexico and the world, to remember the melodies of days gone by to the rhythm of “danzón”, mamba, and cha cha cha. The event takes place every Tuesday at 8.30 pm, Calle 70-A x 59, Centro. Free entry.
The barrio of Santiago is a favorite of visitors and locals alike.
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