Campeche | Vacations and Travel to Campeche
Located beside the Gulf of Mexico, San Francisco de Campeche is a colonial city that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its beautifully preserved buildings and traditions. During the Viceroyalty it was the main seaport in the Yucatan Peninsula and a wall was built to protect the city from pirate attacks. Today, Campeche is known for these remarkable military structures and its status as the capital of a major oil producing state is a source of pride for the city.
The prosperity of Villa de San Francisco de Campeche was a result of its great location as well as the production of logwood and its shipbuilding industry. The city then became one of the main maritime ports of New Spain and an increasingly popular target among pirates and buccaneers. After the bloody attack by the pirate Lorencillo, it was decided that an imposing wall with eight bastions and four doors should be constructed..
With the decline of pirate attacks, the Campeche wall was gradually demolished to make way for urban development. Remnants of the wall can still be seen, giving tourists and residents an idea of what life was like at this unique Mexican site.
A Little Bit of History
Founded on October 4, 1540, Campeche is the only port that offers land access to the region and was used as the headquarters for Francisco de Montejo’s conquest of the Yucatan Peninsula. The various pirate attacks suffered by the city first began in 1559, when French, English and Dutch bandits struck in an effort to claim the great riches found in the Mayan world and because of the conflicts that these European countries had with the Spanish crown.
To defend the population, two centers of operation were constructed; however this was nothing but a failed attempt as the city continued to suffer these acts of piracy. This persuaded the magistrate of Yucatan to build a wall with bastions and two lookout points that would allow for early detection of the enemy.
By the late nineteenth century, Campeche had lost the financialstanding it once held with its agricultural, shipping and commercial ventures. During this time, the henequen haciendas raised the state’s economy and prosperity returned. Some of the buildings from this era have been restored and refitted as luxury hotels while others offer scheduled tours.
The state government was given the task of restoring the historic center and maintaining the historic value of the bastions and forts that were still standing. Their efforts were successful and in 1999 UNSECO named Campeche a World Heritage Site.
- The only walled city in New Spain
- The scene of some of the most memorable pirate exploits in the history of Mexico
- Wonderfully preserved military and colonial architecture
- Has one of the most beautiful boardwalks in Mexico
- Local cuisine primarily consists of seafood
Things to do in Campeche
- Walk from the beginning to the end of the boardwalk while you admire the sunset
- Visit the forts and take a photo of the cannons that face the horizon
- Walk the remains of the wall and see the bastions
- Take the tram and see the local attractions
- Try “pan de cazon” and delicious freshly caught seafood
- Purchase affordable handicrafts in San Francisco Koben, located along the highway leading to Calkini and Merida
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