Capital of the State of Campeche
Historic Fortified Town of Campeche
Defense and port
Location and site
Campeche is a typical example of a harbour town from the Spanish colonial period in the New World. The historic centre has kept its outer walls and system of fortifications, designed to defend this Caribbean port against attacks from the sea.
The sea was the starting point of the Villa of San Francisco of Campeche and the construction of the military defensive system directed the urban growth and the development of this walled and baroque city. An urban chequerboard plan was chosen, with a Plaza Mayor facing the sea and surrounded by government and religious edifices. The walls enclose an irregular hexagon corresponding to the defensive belt encircling the town. The surrounding areas, named barrios, encompass religious buildings, civil and military architecture with Renaissance, Baroque and eclectics characteristics, emphasizing the military. In the 19th century, the town endowed itself with a fine theatre, harmonized with the urban fabric. A section of the wall was pulled down in 1893 to open up a space with a view of the sea, and the main square was turned into a public garden. In the 20th century, the traditional areas of the town centre were little affected by the modernization movement owing to a relative slackening of the economy.
Criterion (ii): The harbour town of Campeche is an urbanization model of a Baroque colonial town, with its checkerboard street plan; the defensive walls surrounding its historic centre reflect the influence of the military architecture in the Caribbean.
Criterion (iv): The fortifications system of Campeche, an eminent example of the military architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries, is part of an overall defensive system set up by the Spanish to protect the ports on the Caribbean Sea from pirate attacks.
The Historic Fortified Town of Campeche, located in the State of Campeche, was founded in the 16th century on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, in the Maya region of Ah-Kim-Pech by Spanish conquerors. It was the most important seaport at the time and played a major role for the conquest and evangelization of the Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala and Chiapas. Its commercial and military importance made it the second biggest town in the Gulf of Mexico, after Mérida. Due its port importance in the sea route: Spain, Havana, Campeche, and Veracruz; as point of embarkation of the natural riches of the peninsula and political differences of the kingdoms of the old continent, ring the second half of the 16th century, Campeche, like other Caribbean towns, was systematically attacked by pirates and corsairs in the pay of enemies of Spain; this is why a large-scale defensive system was installed. This military defensive system for mid-17th century was inadequate and poorly strategic so a new fortification, hexagonal wall, integrating eight bastions, four doors and walls, was authorized, with construction started in 1686 and concluding in 1704. Subsequently, to complete the system of fortifications, the redoubt of San Jose on the east Hill of the village and the redoubt of San Miguel on the west Hill, as well as the batteries of San Lucas, San Matias and San Luis, is mainly in the area of historic monuments, at both ends and facing the sea were constructed.
Sr. Elisio Fernández Montúfar
Presidente Municipal de Campeche
Av. 16 de Septiembre
+52.981 81-1-12-76 y 81-6-79-23
Lic. Gloria del S. Rosado Lopez
Director de Turismo
Ayuntamiento de Campeche
Calle 55 # 3 entre 10 y 8 Centro Histórico
+52.981 811.3989, 811.3990