Of the neighborhood churches I saw around Merida, this yellow church near the historic center was the one I personally found most striking. And it's the first one I revisited on my second trip to the city.
It's funny that when I first saw the Iglesia del Barrio de Santa Ana (on the trip where this photo was taken), I knew nothing of the history of the little church or the neighborhood it inhabits.
There's been a church on this spot in Merida since Colonial times in the 17th century. The original church built on the ruins of a Mayan temple served the indigenous people of the Yucatan. And they were the ones who called this neighborhood, then on the edge of the Spanish city, home. The area has long since gentrified and would be considered by most to be well within the modern city core. Certainly there's an awful lot of Merida that lies beyond this area. Even the nearby 19th century Paseo de Montejo stretches beyond Barrio Santa Ana. Merida has certainly grown a lot since this was the edge of the city!
But the church still has a lot of history, perhaps even dating back beyond the time of the Spanish. The church is believed to be built on the foundations of a Maya temple. And considering it's a known fact that Merida's cathedral was built of recycled stone from Maya temples, it doesn't seem unlikely. The more interesting rumor is that the unusual pyramid peaks on the bell towers are a nod to the Maya past! True? I'm not sure, but they are definitely unique pieces of architecture that make this little yellow church one to remember!
April 16th, 2013
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