Saturday, February 3, 2018

'Los Cuadros'

Katie pointed these out to me, and they are terrific.

Modern Mérida has a simple grid layout of numbered streets... evens run north-south, odds run east-west.  So our house address is more or less: 70th, between 49 and 51.  But this system isn't the original.  How did people give directions originally?

A very nifty system called 'Los Cuadros' (the corners).

Modern map of 'Los Cuadros' locations
Individual intersections in Mérida have names.  The names are pictorial, shown in ceramic tiles embedded in the building walls at the corner.  So in older times you might just tell somebody "I live a couple doors down from the monkey"... or the turkey, or the dog, or the avocado.  Or if you wanted to give exact location, maybe you'd say "I live a couple doors down from the monkey, towards the turkey."  This isn't just a couple of intersections, it is pretty much an entire downtown grid.

Some of these Cuadros are documented as far back as 1794 when Mérida was a growing colonial city.  Some are more recent, probably early 20th century.

Interesting to see the overlay of systems, on corners that have both a picture and a modern street numbers.

Going to keep an eye open for these, they are fun to spot.

Article about them, and a guy who documented them, here.

Girl who was turned into a monkey by a witch...

The Avocado... on 58th Street

The Christmas Tree

The Dog... on 59th

The Crane

The Cornucopia

The Sunset

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