Muslims in Merida and Yucatan


Mosque in Merida

Mosque in Merida

At the end of the 19th century and during the first decades of the 20th century a group of migrants from Lebanon arrived to Yucatan Peninsula. They were escaping from religion persecution and political turmoils in the Middle East as the Ottoman Empire began to collapse. Their native language was the Arabic, but their religion was an ancient christian cult known as the Maronite Church. In Yucatan they were identified as Turks or Arabs, in spite of that they adapted to Mexico so quickly and they started to be successful businessmen. The Lebanese people are descendants of the Phoenician civilization, a group of tribes that were dedicated to navigation and sea transport of goods across the Mediterranean Sea during centuries. That is probably the reason why the first generation of Lebanese migrants were very active as traders and that was the origin of big fortunes in Yucatan peninsula.

The Lebanese community also influenced the local culture through the Mediterranean cuisine that was adapted to the Mexican taste. One of the most important creations is "tacos al pastor" the Mexican version of kebab but of course with corn tortillas. These tacos are prepared with marinated pork and they are accompanied most part of times with slices of pineapple. Another Lebanese contribution to Yucatecan gastronomy are the appetizers known as kibis which are pastries made with wheat and filled with beef or cabbage. To try these Lebanese snacks we recommend you to take the Street Food Tour with us.
The Lebanese presence is also evident in the architecture of the city where some buildings and houses were embellished with arches and designs that remember the Moorish style constructions in Andalusia.

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