arco de Dragones
Restoration work begins at Arco de Dragones in Mérida. City photo

Mérida, Yucatán — With a budget of  185,000 pesos, the city has begin restoration of the 325-year-old Arco de Dragones near Mejorada Park. This is the beginning of a trilogy of projects, with Arco del Puente and San Juan arches scheduled for similar work in the near future, according to the mayor, Mauricio Vila Dosal.

arco de dragones
Mayor Mauricio Vila Dosal visits workers restoring the Arco de Dragones in Mérida. City photo

The arches of the city of Mérida were built circa 1690 under the government of Gen. Juan José de la Bárcena, who intended them to be city gates. That function never came to pass, however, but they have proved to be decorative reminders of the city’s colonial past while signifying the original core of the city.

arco de dragones
Arco de Dragones in 1930.

These arches were constructed by Ing. Military Manuel de Zêzere and are considered unique among Mexico’s historical structures.

Repairs to plaster walls and ornaments, and to the small statue of St. Francis in its niche, along with a fresh coat of pintura a la cal, is estimated to take 30 days.

The work is being conducted by the Asociación Yucateca de Especialistas en Restauración y Conservación del Patrimonio Edificado A.C., under supervision of INAH, the historic protection agency.  The project was initiated by the Directorate of Urban Development, which also supervises the Façade Rescue Program in the historic center. That program began 20 years ago and has orchestrated 950 renovation projects.

Arco del Puente is one block south and named for a small bridge that once stood near the site in a spot that flooded during the rainy season. The Arco de San Juan framed the camino real to Campeche, at calles 64 and 69.