The Wonders of Fernando Castro Pacheco’s Murals in Mérida
Fernando Castro Pacheco Wikipedia in English
Fernando Castro Pacheco Wikipedia in Spanish
If you go to Yucatán and avoid the beaches you will be enthralled by Mayan ruins everywhere, friendly Yucatecans who still speak ancient Mayan dialects and such surprises as the mysterious cenotes which are large holes that open into caverns where you can swim in pure, cool wáter.
But you need not leave the lovely city of Mérida, the first city in the New World (not on an island as that is Santo Domingo) to be surprised.
At the zócalo there are two government palaces. One is the municipal the other Palacio de Gobierno where the governor of the state has his office.
Such is the beauty of the interior of this palace and in particular its great hall that you can understand why there are plans for the government bureaucrats to move out to a new location, and convert the palace into a museum.
The building houses many (as in many) huge political and historical murals by a man I had no knowledge of (even though I visited the palace ten years ago). The artist is Fernando Castro Pacheco (January 26, 1918 — August 8, 2013 born and died in Mérida). His output blew me over. Since I know something of the history of Mexico and of Yucatán I could understand what I was seeing and I was able to explain it to Rosemary. But all the murals have all the relevant information in signs. Some are in English, Spanish and Mayan.
What is remarkable is that the Palacio de Gobierno is open for long hours and you can go at night.
Some of the pictures you see here are fuzzy. This is because I shot quite a few with my iPhone3F (a dedicated camera no longer a phone!) and some were taken by Rosemary with her iPhone7. The rest and particularly the panoramics I clicked with my Fuji X-E1 or X-E3.
I am not in the least troubled by the fuzzy photographs.
Visiting this soon-to-be museum at night (in the pleasant) heat is a delight. After leaving and chatting with the two (all of the two) friendly policemen at the door you can turn right and after a few yards sit at the Nevería Colón and indulge on nieve de guanábana and enjoy the sights and sounds of the always busy zócalo.
What is important to note about Yucatán is that at the turn of the 20 century they were in auge (a splendid word that means economic boom) because of the henequen/sisal. The fibre was principally used for making rope (specially maritime rope) and Yucatán was in direct competition with the Phillipines. The exported robe made of hemp.
Somehow the need for these fibres diminished and the economy of Yucatán suffered. Big henequen haciendas were left empty. Tourism has been a most pleasant replacement for that long gone industry.
Yours truly photograph Rosemary Waterhouse-Hayward
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.