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Campeche: the perfect destination for a summer vacation

by Yucatan Times
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The Historic Fortified City of Campeche, located in the state of the same name, was founded in the 16th century on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, in the Maya region of Ah-Kim-Pech by Spanish conquerors.

It was the most important seaport at the time and played a major role for the conquest and evangelization of the Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala and Chiapas. Its commercial and military importance made it the second biggest town in the Gulf of Mexico, after Mérida.

Due to its port importance in the sea route: Spain, Havana, Campeche, and Veracruz; as point of embarkation of the natural riches of the peninsula and political differences of the kingdoms of the old continent, ring the second half of the 16th century, Campeche, like other Caribbean towns, was systematically attacked by pirates and corsairs in the pay of enemies of Spain; this is why a large-scale defensive system was installed.

This military defensive system for mid-17th century was inadequate and poorly strategic so a new fortification, hexagonal wall, integrating eight bastions, four doors and walls, was authorized, with construction started in 1686 and concluded in 1704.

Subsequently, to complete the system of fortifications, the redoubt of San Jose on the east Hill of the village and the redoubt of San Miguel on the west Hill, as well as the batteries of San Lucas, San Matias and San Luis, is mainly in the area of historic monuments, at both ends and facing the sea were constructed.

Today, Campeche is a colonial fairyland, its walled city center a tight enclave of perfectly restored pastel buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, fortified ramparts and well-preserved mansions.  It features amazing hotels and hostels for all kinds of tourists; either backpackers, archaeology lovers or high-end luxury travelers.

Oil money allowed for the revitalization of the city of Campeche starting in the 1980s. The State Office of Cultural Heritage Sites and Monuments bought abandoned properties to restore them for use as museums, schools, theaters and a library. More than one thousand facades and monuments have been refurbished in the historic center and the oldest residential areas of the city in the last three decades.

The “Land Gate light and sound show” is an impressive set of lights projected on 200 meters of wall, it tells the story of Campeche from the origins of the Mayan culture, conquest, through piracy and ending with the construction of the wall.

From their worldwide, known hammocks and huipiles, to their traditional hats and accessories, Tukulná is the ideal place to buy the perfect souvenir. In addition, the shop is located in a building dating from the eighteenth century and rebuilt in 1993.

House No. 6 had several owners throughout the years, who turned this property into warehouse, canteen, trading and municipal offices, and finally the State Government decided to rehabilitate it, and so it was inaugurated in the year 2000 as House No. 6 Cultural Center featuring a bookstore, cafeteria, souvenir shop and tourist information module.

Hacienda Uayamón is near the city of Campeche with origins in the 16th century. It was attacked and its owner killed in the raid by Laurens de Graaf in 1685. It continued to operate until the Mexican Revolution and today it is home to the Hotel de Gran Turismo.
Campeche is definitely one of the least known and unrated colonial cities and tourist destinations in Mexico, mostly bypassed by those visiting more famous destinations in the Yucatan Peninsula.
If you are thinking where to go this summer, a beautiful place with extraordinarily good food, nice weather, friendly people, cultural and natural attractions, look no further, Campeche is the perfect destination for a summer vacation.

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