More on Mérida
Mérida is 1,600 m (5,249 ft) above sea level. It is at the base of the massive bulk of Pico Bolívar, the tallest mountain in Venezuela. The city is within a valley carved by the Chama River, between two mountain ranges, the Sierra Nevada de Mérida to the southeast and the Sierra La Culata to the northwest.
Due to its high elevation, Mérida enjoys a significantly cooler climate compared to the cities in the Venezuelan lowlands. Temperatures in Mérida range between 18°C and 24°C, with the average hoveing around 22°C (72°F). The population growth, which brought increased pollution has caused a rise in temperature, but Mérida is still cooler than other major Venezuelan cities.
The history of Mérida goes back to 1558, when it was established by Juan Rodríguez Suárez. He named it after the city of Mérida in Spain. He was not authorized to found a town, and the action caused the New Granadian authorities to send Juan de Maldonado to arrest him. Maldonado relocated the citysome 30 km to the north, to its present site. Maldonado renamed it San Juan de las Nieves, and subsequently renamed it again, to Santiago de los Caballeros (St James of the Knights).
As there are no civilian airport in Mérida, you are limited to taking the bus. There are services from Caracas, Maracay and other major cities.
Places of Interest to visit in Mérida
- Cathedral of Mérida
A minor basilica built in the Baroque style, resembling the Cathedral of Toledo, Spain.
- Iglesia de Milla
Originally constructed in the 18th century and rebuilt in 1907 following an earthquake, this is one of the oldest churches in Mérida.
- Mérida Botanical Garden
A 40-hectare garden with a vast collection of plants and trees.
- Mérida Cable Car
A popular tourist attraction linking the central quarter of Mérida with the Sierra Nevada.
- Plaza Bolívar
The main square of Mérida, surrounded by some of its most important civic buildings.
- Plaza Monumental Román Eduardo Sandia
This is Mérida’s bullfighting arena built in 1967.