The Spanish settlement of Campeche, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built on the site of a former Maya fishing village in 1540. In colonial times it was the most important port on the Yucatan Peninsula, and its prosperity made it a frequent target for attacks by English, French and Dutch pirates, who looted and destroyed the city several times. As a consequence, thick walls were built around the town, strengthened by eight baluartes (bastions). Campeche’s defenses were completed by two forts on hills outside the city, where we will start our visit.
The Fuerte de San Jose has an exhibit on colonial military history, and the Fuerte de San Miguel showcases beautiful Mayan artifacts. We continue to the Baluarte de San Carlos and Baluarte de la Soledad – two of the seven bastions that can be visited; the Ex-Templo de San Jose – a former Jesuit church with an elaborate façade of blue and yellow tiles; the Casa del Teniente del Rey – the former residence of the Spanish king’s military representative; and the Cathedral.
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