The town, today boasting a population of just over 200,000, was founded by Francisco de Montéjo (the son) in 1540 CE. It was built on top of and adjoining the Maya settlement of Ah Kin Pech - a busy coastal port. The main export product was logwood, a source of haematein - a red dye that attracted large prices in Europe. Success in trade also attracted coastal pirates such that residents prevailed on the authorities to fortify at least the town centre. Construction of the initial fortifications commenced in 1686 CE and finished in 1704, following a brutal massacre. Work continued on defences throughout the 18th century. The wall takes the form of an irregular hexagon and extends for 2,560 metres, with 8 bastions and 4 gates.
The historical centre of the town has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A model of the centre may be found just inside the walls to the northwest, close to the plaza. This view of the model shows the centre from northwest to southeast.
I had rested on the Sunday in Mérida, following the Saturday tours of Dzibilchaltun and Aké. I arranged with Valentin to pick me up at the hotel at 8:00AM so I might have breakfast prior to the journey to Campeche. The distance is 165 kilometres and Valentin drove it in just over two hours, including the stop at the police checkpoint outside Campeche. There was only a perfunctory search of our vehicle, possibly looking for any cash that may have fallen on the floor. :-)
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