###

One of the Twin Mansions becomes a private museum

Don't miss

More amazing birds in Yucatán, from pheasants to the American robin’s southern cousin

This week we kick things off with one of Yucatán’s most emblematic species, the great curassow or hocofaisán.

34 business shut down in Playa del Carmen over new COVID-19 rules

Affected business owners and administrators say that shutting down by 11 pm renders their businesses unviable, and will lead to permanent closures and layoffs.

New images of the Mayan Train spark imagination

Here are the designs that serve as an expression of the Maya Train's grandiose ambitions.
Yucatán Magazine
Yucatán Magazine
Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
  • One of Mérida's famous Twin Mansions on the Paseo de Montejo. Photo: Yucatán Magazine

Nearly 110 years after it was built, the public is invited to see inside one of Mérida’s palacial Casas Cámara, also known as the Casas Gemelas or Twin Houses.

Montejo 495 Casa Museo, which is the house on the left if you are viewing them from the Paseo, is a giant time capsule containing vestiges of Yucatán’s golden age. The home’s artwork and fine furnishings, including a grand chandelier that was the first in Yucatán to be wired electrically, are displayed throughout.

While the upper floors are still private residences, the museum space has plenty of marble-clad rooms on the first floor. Surrounding a grand reception hall is a set of ornate French-style parlors on the left, followed by a magnificent dining room on the right, a billiards room and cozy, lush library. Each room has a docent, speaking in both Spanish and English, to give the rooms context.

Since it was built in 1911, when henequen plantations still funded mansions up and down Mérida’s grand boulevard, the French-style mansion has been owned by only two families: The Cámara Zavala family that built it, and then in 1964 by the Barbachano Herrero family.

Three generations of Barbachanos were early pioneers in Yucatán tourism, and owned the Chichén Itzá archaeological site from 1944 until the government expropriated it in 2010. Family members owned numerous hotels, including the landmark Mayaland resort, and still have several properties such as Casa del Balam, which created the groundwork for a regional tourist economy.

Maruja Barbachano Herrero — who grew up in the mansion and still resides on the upper floors — didn’t want the home to become office space, which happened to so many other grand residences on the boulevard. As early as 2014, she suggested the home could be a museum of the Porfiriato era.

Montejo 495 Casa Museo
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday-Sunday
General admission: 250 pesos (50 pesos more to take photography); with state identification, 125 pesos. INAPAM, students and children under 12, 50 pesos; free entry for children under 3.

Popular

Confused, jealous wife stabs husband after seeing her younger self in old photos

A woman who apparently didn't recognize herself in an old photo stabbed her husband when she suspected an affair. Photo: Contributed

55 years ago an aircraft mysteriously crashed in Yucatán. Now a team of adventurers seeks answers

It is uncertain if the adventurers will be able to make it to the crash site, but claim that the expedition is as much about the journey as the destination.

Its port quiet for over a year, Progreso will welcome Carnival Breeze in July

Progreso will be a rare port of call for Carnival in July.

New Xcaret theme park to open in Yucatán by December

Xibalba park will feature a circuit of eight cenotes connected by an artificial flowing river.