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Campeche Sep 03

It is a historic fortified city on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is renowned as one of the few walled cities in America and the only one in Mexico. One of the reasons it was declared Cultural Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO in 1999 is the excellent condition of its historical heritage. The original Mayan settlement was called KaanPeech (In Mayan language: Kaan = snake, Peech = tick, which means: the place of snakes and ticks). When the Spanish arrived, they Hispanicized it to Campeche. After their arrival, the city became the largest port of colonial America, bringing an intense commercial traffic and subsequent construction of mansions and churches. However, the same wealth that allowed it to flourish attracted the attention of pirates whose expeditions not only led to endless stories, but that led to the lifting of impregnable fortifications that distinguish today’s place.

Campeche preserves colonial architecture of the sixteenth century, vibrating with legends in each of its streets, houses, churches, forts, ramparts and bastions. In the walled city (old town), one of the best preserved in Mexico, we found the most representative of the colonial period in each of the cobbled streets, plazas, houses, colorful doors and windows. Its beautiful cathedral, together with its square, has a great history, it is said that in that place was held the first church service in New Spain. Another example of ancient history, architecture and lifestyle of society, are the beautiful Haciendas, huge constructions, where it was produced all kinds of source materials such as grains, seeds, sisal, sugar cane, etc. Today they can be visited, the Hacienda Puerta Campeche, located next to the historical Puerta de Tierra, is formed by a group of houses of the XVII century that have been remodeled and turned into the most original hotel in the area.

The famous Puerta de Tierra (Earth Gate) is one of the four entrances to Fort San José El Alto, every evening conducts a sound and light show with simultaneous translation into English and French, in this, the tourist can enjoy the representations of the ancient battles and adventures of pirates. Equally representative is the Puerta del Mar (Sea Gate) recently restored to evoke the glory days. Integrated with the Fort San Jose el Alto conserving its moat, drawbridge, watchtowers and cannon, the Fort San Miguel is another example of defending Campeche against attacks of the Pirates. Currently hosts the Archaeological Museum of Campeche, which has a large collection of Mayan culture.

Around Campeche is possible to find various archaeological sites framed by forest vegetation. These sites are examples of important vestiges of the Mayan culture, as Calakmul, which is the largest Mayan city discovered in Mexico to this day, it is located in the biosphere reserve of 1,800,000 acre with the same name, between buildings identified in the area we can find two acropolis, a ball game field and the structure II, perhaps the greatest of all the Maya area.

Tourists also can visit Edzná which was one of the most important cities of the Maya civilization, thanks to its great technological advances. Due to the type of valley floor, this used to flood in rainy season, to fix this; the Mayans developed a system of hydraulic works: they built a network of canals that drained the valley when it flooded and water led to a lagoon with walls containment, while other channels were also used to irrigate the fields. Also is impressive to watch the temple palace which consists of a pyramidal base with five floors and many rooms on each.

Undoubtedly one of the most expected celebrations is the Carnival, each year in February. It is the oldest in Mexico with more than 450 years. The party begins with the ride and burning of the bad mood represented by a cloth pirate named Juan Carnaval, which when is totally consumed, it takes away with him all the bad mood and concerns of people, all accompanied with dances, musical performances and parades between parade floats, costumes and dances that last 5 long and intense days. Campeche has suffered over the centuries many changes that, to this day distinguish it charming, preserving intact the spirit of its colonial lineage. Thanks to its natural beauty and its many attractions, combined with the friendliness and warmth of its people, this place is synonymous of hospitality.

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