Campeche is unique city with a very colorful history, history is the main reason the city is so unique. Originally a Mayan trading village, the Spaniards arrived in 1520 and attempted to conquer the village. It took them almost twenty years to defeat the Mayan population and in 1540 Campeche was declared a city. It didn't take long for Campeche to become eastern Mexico's principle seaport, shipping goods from all over the country back to Spain and other parts of Europe. Much of the gold and silver produced in other regions was shipped from Campeche.
Because the city was prospering and there was almost always gold and silver stored locally, the city was pillaged and plundered by pirates on an all too regular basis. In 1663 after a particularly brutal attack, which nearly wiped out the entire population, it was decided that a huge wall had to be built to protect the city against further attacks. The wall was not started until 1686, it was a giant undertaking, being 12 feet thick in places, it even extended into the sea where they built huge iron gates for the loading and unloading of galleons. Twenty years later the city was completely surrounded by walls and the attacks were finally quelled. Parts of the wall remain to this day.
The city today is a pleasant mixture of old and new. Many colonial buildings, homes and mansions are a reminder of the city's rich history. Tours of the city are provided, free of charge, in old fashioned trolley cars, by the local tourism department. The city center is filled with pleasant restaurants that serve up seafood specialties such as local shrimp, fresh fish, conch and even shark. Saturday evenings there are free performances of traditional folkloric music and dances in Plaza Moch-Cuouh, near Parque Principal. Sunday evenings there are free concerts in Parque Principal. There is a helpful tourist office in Plaza Moch-Cuouh, be sure to ask about tours to the forts and the Friday evening sound and light show which chronicles the history of the city with lights, music and drama.
The city continues to prosper because of the nearby oil fields and commercial fishing. Tourism is becoming important, as the state has many important archaeological sites, and word is quickly spreading about the relaxed atmosphere and colonial ambience of Campeche. Tours to the nearby ruins of Edzna and Haltunchen are easily arranged in the city center. Hunting and fishing tours are easily arranged, also