Campeche City is the capital of the State of Campeche. The name of Campeche comes from the Mayan world “Ah-Kim-Pech”, which means “The sir sun jigger”, but since its pronunciation was difficult for the Spanish, they called it “Kna Pech”, which means “Place of snakes and jiggers”.
Campeche, founded around the third century of our era, was the principal town of the Mayan province. By 1517, expeditionary lead by Francisco Hernandez de Cordova reached the village of Ah-Kim-Pech to replenish their water supply, after a 4 days storm they were able to disembark at Champoton where they were attached by the Mayan troops led by Moch Couoh. The Mayan victory over the Spaniards became a fact, and ever since the place where the battle took place its called the “bay of the bad fight”. Later, in 1531, Commander Francisco de Montejo founded Salamanca de Campeche but failed to enter the land of Mayas. In 1540, Montejo’s son arrived in Champoton and conquered Kim Pech and Acanul. In 1541 Francisco Montejo founded the “Villa de San Francisco de Campeche”, and won later Tenabo, Hecelchakan, and Calkini.
For the ones who would like to been born in the times when pirates conquered places and struggled many fights, its definitely a good idea to visit the City of Campeche. Because of the constant tension of wars, conflicts, alliances between England, France and Holland with Spain and Portugal the people from Campeche were forced to fortify their city by building forts and walls from 1685 to 1704, thus preventing them from taking advantage of their economic development.
Campeches’s history has divided the City into three zones:
The Center, formed by the old walled city which was inhabited by the Spaniards during the Colony.
San Francisco, located to the north of the wall, where the Mayan population was concentrated; and…
San Roman to the south, where the Mexican natives established themselves with the mulattos brought from the Islands of the Caribbean, mainly from Cuba.
Nowadays the bastions and remains of the wall are historical monuments, museums, gardens and other cultural attractions such as:
The Ancient House of the Carvajal family with Arabic arcs and flight of steps made or marble. Currently, it’s been converted into a crafts store and government offices.
The Baluarte of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad. Built in 1690, here you can visit the Stelae museum named Dr. Roman Pina Chan, with an exhibition of 22 Mayan Sculptures.
The Cathedral of the Campeche (The Church of our lady of Purisima Concepcion, The first chapel is dated on the XVI century, and it was located on the nearest summit of the main plaza of Campeche. The actual church after our Lady of Purisima Concepcion was built in the XVII century. The construction was interrupted several times, but it was able to be finished thanks to the donations of Mrs. Margarita Guerra, and it was blessed on July 4th, 1705. In 1758 the west wind tower was built, and extra construction was done, being finished 4 years later. The monument was consecrated on July 25th, 1833 by the bishop of Yucatan, Jose Maria Guerra, in 1895, the pope Leon XIII founded the bishopric of Campeche and the temple was changed into the Campeche, now the Diocese of Campeche.
Main Square, where some examples of Colonial architecture can be observed.
The Church of San Francisco, built in the XVI century.
The San Francisco de Paulo Toro Park, where an exhibition of handicrafts from the country is presented in December.
The Regional Museum is known as the Casa del Teniente del Rey (House of the Lieutenant of the King) with a collection of European weapons from the XII to XIX centuries.
The Historical Hall of the Fortifications which is based on historical explanations, reconstructions of fortifications of the old walled city with photo mountings in color and scale models.
“Puerta del Mar” (Sea Gate) located downtown, it’s one of the four gates of the City, it was used to receive and dismiss travelers and their products.
“Puerta de Tierra” (Land Gate), built-in 1732. It’s considered as the main symbol of the City. Don’t miss the light and sound show on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 PM.
San Jose el Alto, At the end of the 18th century various outer works, were constructed which increased the range of activities from the plaza of Campeche: one of them is this structure, which was completed August 9, 1972, by the lieutenant to the king, don Jorge Sabio de Vargas, The Reduct of San Jose can be considered as a perfectly conserved project since it contains a ditch barrel vault, cistern, and gates which served to guard the outside; the ditch was covered with stakes and quicklime. One can also see the hall which served as a vestibule, guardroom, sleeping quarters, chapel, kitchen, warehouse for gunpower, a cell, merlons an embankment. loopholes and a latrine. The cistern is a water deposit filled from collectors which found on the highest parts of the structure facing the interior of the central patio.
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