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All about Casas Gemelas in Mérida, Mexico

Updated: April 6, 2024

Main Category: Museums

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Author: Tobias

The Twin Houses are a pair of French-style mansions built in the early 20th century. One turned into a museum. Casas Gemelas in Mérida, Mexico is only 600m away from Casa Loltún. It is located in the city center of Mérida, so you can comfortably stroll the short distance. The admission fee for foreign adults is about 250MXN. Different prices may apply for residents or children.

Museums

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Address:

Casas gemelas, Paseo de Montejo, Zona Paseo Montejo, Centro, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexiko

Website:

Category:

Museum

Phone:

+52 999 924 0037

Distance:

600m from Casa Loltún

Travel Time:

Within the city

Admission:

Mex$ 250

Price Level:

Mid-range

Since:

1911

Google Rating:

average rating is 4.4 out of 5, based on 221 votes, Ratings

Opening Hours:

• Monday: Closed
• Tuesday: Closed
• Wednesday: Closed
• Thursday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
• Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
• Saturday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
• Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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Casas Gemelas

Casas Gemelas (in English: Twin Houses) are a pair of French-style mansions on Paseo de Montejo, between Calles 45 and 43. In 1905, the brothers Ernesto and Camilo Cámara decided to build two neoclassical houses on a plot of just over 3,000 square metres.


The construction of the buildings began in 1908 and the completion was end of 1911. The houses have 10 bedrooms and eight bathrooms each as well as a basement and a mezzanine floor; an office, a living room, a large kitchen and various other rooms.


The villas reflect the economic boom that the Yucatán Peninsula, and especially Mérida, experienced during the Porfiriato period thanks to the hennequen.


Originally used as a private residence for the Cámara family, one of the houses was acquired by the Barbachano family in 1964 and now functions as a museum, known as Montejo 495.


Over the years, the houses have received famous guests, including Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, King Umberto II of Italy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.


Architecture and design


The houses were built according to the plans of the French architect M. Umbdenstock. Construction began in 1908 under the direction of engineer Manuel G. Cantón. The the neoclassical buildings were designed in the Beaux-Arts style of the Second French Empire.


On the main floor, the staircase is flanked by a portal with paired columns whose shafts are carved from a single piece of imported Bianco Carrara marble from Italy, complementing the steps.


All the furniture and decoration of the houses came from Europe and was selected by Gustave Umbdenstock to furnish the houses in the French style.


Entrance hall of the building
Entrance hall of the building

Museum operations


The left property was bought by Fernando Barbachano, whose family turned the house in 2021 into a museum. The museum house is still occupied by its residents but care is taken to ensure that the museum operations do not interfere with their daily lives.


The space is open to the public, offering guided tours from Thursday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The tour leads through various rooms on the first floor and basement (including the large, beautifully decorated kitchen), while the upper floors are used privately.


The large kitchen
The large kitchen

The price of the buildings


The house on the right was listed for sale in October 2018 for US-$20 million. A year later, in October 2019, the listing price was reduced by US-$2 million to US-$18 million (this equated to a price of 557 US per sqft at 32,292 sqft).


In February 2022, the house was sold to the Molina family more than 3 years after the initial listing. The purchase price has not been disclosed.


Gentlemen's room with pool table
Gentlemen's room with pool table

Origin of the name


Although the two houses are not completely identical, at first glance they appear to be almost identical, which is why they were given the name Casas Gemelas (Twin Houses). They are also known as Casas Cámara, as their first owners were members of the Cámara family.


A few tips


It is possible to take pictures for an extra fee of 50 pesos (without flash), but some haste is required because the time spent in each room is sometimes not very long and it is not allowed to explore the building unsupervised.

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