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How to enter the secret tunnels in the Center of Merida?

- May 18, 2023

In the Historic Center of Mérida there are stories and secret places that are not visible to everyone and legends and stories have been created, such as the tunnels or hidden passageways in the heart of the city.

It is an underground communication system that linked main buildings and churches in the first square of the city that were built in the period after the viceroyalty that only took advantage of those already built by the ancient Mayans who inhabited the area.

Other stories narrate that the basements were built so that the cloistered nuns would not have contact with the outside world and it was also said that one of the passageways went from the Church of the Nuns (calle 64 x 63) to the Cathedral and also connected to the convent of Saint Francis the Great.

But despite how ingrained these myths may be in people’s minds, this idea that the church of Monjas and the Cathedral communicate through a passageway, the archaeological data contradict these stories, because no matter how popular the myth, that does not make it true, paraphrasing the anthropologist and archaeologist, Sergio Grosjean.

How to enter to know the tunnels?

The entrance to this underground section is located under the parking lot of the famous Casa de Cárdenas or Casa de los ladrillos, where Plaza Diamante is today (calle 62 x 65) behind what was the Yanal Luum bar (under the ground) which fed the belief of the existence of an imaginary line between Monjas and the Cathedral.

“These ideas did not resist the force of the evidence, since when the excavation work was carried out to install the pipes for the drinking water service, the supposed underground route did not appear,” says Grosjean.

For 10 years and even before the COVID-19 Pandemic, this place was open to the public where a historical-theatrical tour of the ‘Night of Legends’ group was offered, but there is currently no access to visitors.

Tunnel from Maní to Mérida

Another of the myths that have been created through these tunnels tells that there is one that covers a distance of almost 100 kilometers and that extends from the Convent of San Miguel Arcángel de Maní and reached the church of Monjas in Mérida.

In 1982 an exploration was carried out in this narrow passage and when an attempt was made to advance, it was not possible to continue, since it was filled with rubble. When asking the inhabitants of the municipality, they assured that it was covered to prevent children from entering to play and getting lost.

Many feared that the children would get lost on the long road that led to the Yucatecan capital. The actual existence of this tunnel was never verified.

Regarding the origin and nature of these secret passageways in Mérida, some hypotheses suggest that these spaces served as warehouse for food, liquor and various belongings of its former inhabitants. Over time they were abandoned and even served as sewage drainage.

Source: Por Esto

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