Merida, Venezuela




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The city of Santiago de los Caballeros de Mérida is the capital of Libertador County (Mérida, Venezuela) and of the state of the same name, Mérida. It is one of the most important cities in the venezuelan Ándes. Founded in 1558 by Juan Rodríguez Suárez, the city became the political capitol of the Gobernación de Mérida in 1622. The city and the Gobernación de Mérida were part of the Virreinato de Nueva Granada until 1777, year on which they became part of the Capitanía General de Venezuela. Mérida played an active role during the Venezuelan independence war.

City of Merida in Venezuela. The Andes


Known as "La Ciudad de los Caballeros" ("The City of Gentlemen"), the city is considered one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Venezuela. With a vibrant metropolitan area that reaches the 350,000 habitants, Mérida is home of the prestigious Universidad de los Andes (ULA) [1], and it hosts the world’s highest and second largest cable car, the Teleférico de Mérida, rising to 4,765 meters (15,633 ft) across 12.5 km in four stages.

Mérida is located on a plateau formation in the valley of the Chama river, which crosses the full length of the city. The city is at an altitude of 1,630 m above the sea level, and has as a background, in the horizon, the highest venezuelan summit: the Bolivar Peak.


Mérida is one of the most beautiful states in the country for its wonderful landscapes and mountains. This city is an excellent place to visit and it is very known for its excellent tourist sites. Mérida is one of the oldest cities in Venezuela. It was founded in 1558 by Captain Juan Rodriguez Suárez. This city was originally called “Santiago de los Caballeros”. The foundation of Mérida has caused many disputes. The Spaniard Juan Rodriguez Suárez was entrusted by Ortún Velazquez, governor of Pamplona, Colombia, with the mission of conquering the lands of the Sierra Nevada, an undertaking which had attracted the attention of Pamplonians for many years. There were many who thought they would find gold under the snow, that coveted the metal which led so many astray, not only from their expeditions, but also from their reason. Many died in the jungles or lost their sanity in their eager search. What is known is that Juan Rodriguez Suárez left Pamplona with 80 men and on October 9 in 1558, he founded the city where present day is Laguinillas. The site was questioned by Juan de Maldonado who empowered by Santa Fe Audience, and moved Mérida to its present site and named Santiago de los Caballeros. History has recognized Rodriguez Suárez as the founder of Mérida. He is remembered as a man of great courage, romantic spirit and quixotic ideals. He was called (Gentleman of the Red Cape).


The city is located in the cordillera andina, in the valley formed between the Sierra Nevada de Mérida and the Sierra La Culata, between the rivers Chama and Albarregas.

Latitude: 8.598° N
Longitude: -71.145° W
Access by road is through Trasandina (troncal 7) joining Mérida with Trujillo, Barinas and Táchira states. It also has a national airport Aeropuerto Alberto Carnevali (SVMD).


Mérida state is situated in the center of the Venezuelan Andes and has an area of 11.300 square kms, has a population of about 700.000 inhabitants, and is divided into 23 autonomous municipalities. It is located in the west of the country and it is considered the highest and coldest city in the county, because has a mean temperature about 19°C and is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada at an altitude of 1620meters or 5315 feet.

It has wonderful landscapes such as the Sierra Nevada with its majestic Bolivar Peak (5007 meters high) and located in the south-eastern of the state and the Sierra de la Culata with its Los Conejos Páramo) and El Campanario Peak (4500 meters high) located in the northeast. The city has a high percentage of student population over 35000 young people from around Venezuela come here to study at the Universidad de los Andes.

Climate and Vegetation

The climate is cold but in the relatively small area of Mérida state, you will encounter several dramatic climatic changes all in a day. The climate in the city is between 19°C and 20 °C, temperatures between 5°C and 9°C at El Bolivar Peak, or Below zero when its snows and 28°C in the El Vigía area. Its rains almost every late afternoon in January –February that is the coldest months an August-September and in August and September it often rains at night. The vegetation is exuberant and there are many lakes and rivers, a great number of which are well stocked with trout, one of the delicacies of Mérida. The most important river in the state is the “Chama” because a large part of the water resources of Venezuela originates in the Mérida mountains. The state tree is the “Bucare” and the state flower is the “Frailejón” and in the “Coloradito” is founded the tree at the highest altitude in the world. In this mountains habitat the “Oso Frontino” bear and the majestic Condor flies through the skies of the páramos and in the lagoons you can get the best trouts of the city.






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