Historic Fortified Town of Campeche is a well-preserved Spanish colonial town in the Bay of Campeche that is today a World Heritage Site. The city of 240,000 people (2011 estimate) has preserved most of its medieval walls and fortifications, and its cobblestone streets are today a lasting reminder of times past.
Cathedral of Campeche in downtown Campeche City, Mexico
Author: El Ágora (public domain)
Campeche was founded by the Spanish conquistadores in 1540. It was originally called San Francisco de Campeche, as it was built over the existing Maya city of Canpech. Nothing much of the original Maya city - which had over three thousand houses - remains today. What still stand today in Campeche are the buildings erected by the Spanish. In the old days, the Spanish lived within the walled area while the locals lived in barrios surrounding it.
The style of colonial architecture in Campeche can be described as baroque. The city was built with a reticular and regular plan to play a role as an important commercial port. Fortification of Campeche began in 1686, following regular pirate attacks and raids. The city wall was designed by French engineer Louis Bouchard de Becour. The wall encircled the city. It was 2,560 meters long, forming an irregular hexagon plan over the main part of town.
Fortification of San Francisco de Campeche, Mexico
Author: Salvador Barrera Rodriguez (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 Generic)
There were eight bastions on the city fortification. These bastions are today used for other functions. The Santiago bastion is today a botanical garden. The San Pedro bastion was a former prison. The San Francisco bastion houses a library. The San Juan bastion protects the Land Gate. The Nuestra Señora de la Soledad bastion protects the Sea Gate. Being the largest bastion, it also houses the Museum of City History today. The San Carlos bastion, the first to be built, also houses the Museum of City History, and protects the Sea Gate. And finally, the eighth bastion is the Santa Rosa bastion.
Historic Fortified Town of Campeche was inscribed as a World Heritage Site during the 23rd session of the World Heritage Committee in Marrakesh, Morocco, 29 November - 4 December, 1999.
World Heritage Site Inscription DetailsLocation: N19 50 47.004 W90 32 13.992 in the state of Campeche, Mexico.
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: II, IV
Return to Mexico's World Heritage Sites
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