Historic Fortified Town of Campeche

Travelling north up the Yucatan peninsular from Palenque, I arrived in the low-key seaside town of Campeche. It was founded by the Spanish in 1540 and during the 17th and 18th centuries was the subject of attacks by pirates, hence the fortifications for which it is listed.

Campeche - fortifications

Campeche - fortifications

 

The historic centre, within the fortifications, is the usual colonial grid layout but I was surprised to find that here the streets have numbers, with the even streets going north-south and the odd ones east-west. The street signs have their former names on them as well, so at some point the whole town street system has been changed from names to numbers.

Campeche - central square

Campeche - central square

The town has a fair number of attractive old buildings and churches and a curious surfeit of photocopy shops. It was rather light on restaurants and snack sellers though, at least in the historic centre where I was, which made it stand out from every other place I’ve visited in Mexico. 

 

Campeche

Campeche

The fortifications, a reasonable amount of which survive,  comprised an irregular polygon of walls punctuated by gates and with small forts at the vertices. They are no longer as close to the sea as when built; the beach has disappeared under a block’s width of concrete buildings and a wide busy road. This rather threw me for a while as I tried to find the Caribbean!

Campeche - cathedral

Campeche - cathedral

Despite my arriving in the middle of a theatre festival the town was not particularly lively and being quite small it was not long in the visiting, so I spent most of my day there sitting reading in the main square. I was perfectly content but it’s hardly a the kind of ringing endorsement a tourist board would like. Mind you, I met a girl in the hostel in my next stop who’d spent two days there and had got really bored.

Campeche

Campeche

For the Lego model it seemed appropriate to choose the fortifications so I went for the land gate – the main gate in the walls on the opposite side from the sea.

Campeche - land gate

Campeche - land gate

You will notice that I have not rendered the various naff pirate-y accoutrements that surround it.

Lego Campeche - land gate

Lego Campeche - land gate

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