Founded in 1540 by Francisco of Montejo, it is the oldest
Spanish city in the peninsula of Yucatán and was the only
Campeche is part of the enormous plain comprising the
Yucatán Peninsula, which it shares with
It was inhabited by groups from the ancient Mayan culture,
traces of which can still be seen in places like Edzná and
Calakmul. On the shores of the Gulf of México, in what was
once the Mayan city of Ah Kin Pech "Place of the Sun,"
Francisco de Montejo el Mozo ordered the construction of
Villa de San Francisco de Campeche.
Owing to its strategic location, it suffered numerous pirate
attacks, as a result of which a defense system of walls and
forts was built, traces of which still remain, giving it its
distinctive appearance. The state’s surroundings are
tropical, and unlike its neighbors on the peninsula, it has
several rivers, in addition to beaches, archeological sites,
colonial buildings, 19th century haciendas and nature
reserves with an astonishing variety of flora and fauna.
of the city of Campeche is both magical and moving. This
city, guarded like a precious relic by its inhabitants, is
proud to celebrate its 465 years of existence. Possessing
one of the best preserved historic centers in México, it was
declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999.
What was once the fortress of the Spanish crown in the Gulf
of México is now a delightful city that appears to have been
designed by the gods. Campache is really a colonial jewel.
Campeche is the westernmost of the three states comprising
the Yucatán Peninsula. It is covered by forest and enjoys a
tropical climate, with rains in the summer and autumn. The
city of Campeche, its capital, is located on the east coast
of the Gulf of México. Its historic center consists of three
districts: the walled section whose mansions were inhabited
by the Spaniards during the colonial era; the San Francisco
district to the north of the fortification, where the Mayan
population lived and San Román in the south, where Mexican
indigenous peoples and mulattos brought in from the
Caribbean Islands settled.
The city of
Campeche, built on the site of the domain of Ah Kim Pech
(Lord Tick) was the first Spanish settlement on the Yucatán
Peninsula. Founded on October 4 1540, it was initially
called San Lázaro and subsequently renamed Villa de San
Francisco de Campeche. A few years later, the city became
one of the most important ports in America for shipping the
immense wealth produced in the inland forests. This era gave
rise to the legend of the buccaneers. Morgan, Lorencillo,
and the Mulatto are the mythical names of the men that
besieged and plundered the city of San Francisco to seize
the riches transported by the vessels of the Spanish Crown.
The colonial authorities proceeded to fortify the city by
erecting a massive wall, construction of which began in
Campeche is a beautiful city built in an elongated
checkerboard shape due to the characteristics of the coast.
The remains of the walls that encircled the town in the 18th
century can still be seen at various points in the city
today. Two of the four gates and seven bulwarks of
incalculable architectural interest have been preserved. As
the Campeche historian Román Piña Chan remarked, "Campeche’s
history is written in the stones, bulwarks, doors and walls
that speak to us of the past, of Spanish navigators and
time goes by slowly and peacefully. Although it is a
maritime city, its residents encourage visitors to enjoy its
nostalgia, cuisine, long walks and intense cultural life
that manages to respect its traditions. The hospitable
inhabitants of this state-the term "campechano" is
synonymous with goodness and simplicity- are probably the
proudest of their Mayan legacy of all those in the Mayan
world. The state boasts a wealth of archaeological sites,
all within easy access of the city of Campeche. Legendary
Mayan settlements such as Edzná, Becán, Xpuhil and the
magnificent Calakmul are just some of the archaeological
sites that no visitor should miss.
Located by a flat coast open to the sea, Campeche was
exposed to the attacks of the adventurers of the seas which
could enter the city from the port or the fields. Surrounded
by eight meter high walls, protected by bastions and coastal
batteries, it was locked in a rigid shell of stone that,
starting from the XIX century opened up to allow the city to
extend freely. Facing the old perimeter wide lands have been
won from the sea and the modern constructions make one
forget the glorious times. No harbor is left.
you to visit the historical center where you find the
Cathedral, the churches of Guadalupe, San Francisco, San
Román and the church of Jesus. Other works of historical
importance are the Mercedes' Bridge, the "Puerta del Mar"
(Door of Sea), the "Puerta de Tierra" (Door of Earth), the
theater Francisco de Paula y Toro. The city also has the
museums of the Mayan Statues, the Historical Room of the
Fortifications, Crafts museum, and the Botanical garden
Xmuch-Haltún. The Southern Fort of San Miguel acted as
masthead in the hills during the XVIII century and do not
miss a visit to the beautiful Mayan Museum inside. Further
down south the beaches of Campeche are a delight for the
visitors. Important archeological zones are Edzná, Calakmul,
Becán, Chicana and Xpujil worthy representatives of the
early classic period of the Mayans.
From the southern Fort of San Miguel on the way to Edzná it
is only 20 minutes to the Hacienda Uayamon, where you can
enjoy the excellent restaurant and with advanced reservation
Becán is famous because
there the fine palm hats are elaborated, well-known as"
Panamás" or" Jipis." The jipi is the fiber of a very
delicate dwarf palm. The industry of the palm hat began in
the middle of the XIX century by the family García, and now
the whole town is devoted to this handcraft. To conserve the
palm flexible to be processed a warm and humid climate is
needed. Almost all the houses of the town have in the patio
caves where the humidity and the heat are constant. There,
almost all the members of the family gather to knit the
famous hats. The dwarf palm of which the ribbons are taken
out to knit is called guano.
We recommend you to visit
the old Open Chapel, rebuild and that keeps interesting
features of the cloister that was the temple and Franciscan
monastery, built between 1555 and 1561 dedicated to San Luis
of Tolosa. Its characteristic ornamental are not common in
the old religious buildings of this area. In May, they
celebrate the festivals of San Isidro.