Mexico (2002-2017): States of Veracruz and Campeche

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(This banner shows colorful painted masks that are used during celebrations across Mexico. This folk art is particularly developed in the State of Veracruz.)

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Both the states of Veracruz and Campeche lie on the Gulf of Mexico. However, they are quite different. Geographically, whereas the state of Veracruz is hilly and shares part of Pico de Orizaba, the highest peak in Mexico (5636m), with the state of Puebla on its western border, most of the state of Campeche is a low-elevation flat plain like most of the Yucatan peninsula, to which it belongs. Culturally, the state of Veracruz (along with the adjacent state of Tabasco) is home of the Olmecs, the oldest known civilization (from circa 1200 BC to circa 400 BC) between central Mexico and Costa Rica. The Olmec civilization, famous for its massive stone sculpture, is regarded as the precursor of the Maya and Aztec cultures. On the other hand, the state of Campeche is part of the territory where the Maya civilization flourished, along with the Mexican states of Yucatan, Quintana Roo, and Chiapas, Belize, Guatemala, and parts of Honduras and El Salvador.

 

(2015) Xalapa (State of Veracruz):

Xalapa is the capital of the state of Veracruz.

 

In the fabulous Museo de Antropologia. (This museum is one the most interesting museums I ever visited. It houses the largest collection of artefacts from ancient cultures of the Mexican Gulf Coast region, including enigmatic giant Olmec heads, most dating between 1500 and 1000 BC, some weighing around 20 tons, and smaller ceramic statuettes with amazingly expressive faces and body postures.)

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(2015) Xico (State of Veracruz):

 

The village, 25km from the state capital Xalapa, is renown for its mole, its coffee, and its wine.

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Maria Magdalena Church.

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(2015) Veracruz (State of Veracruz):

 

Palacio Municipal viewed from the Zocalo.

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Photo taken early December 2015

Photo taken during the summer of 1967

 

Cathedral viewed from the Zocalo.

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Faro Venustiano Carranza.

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Castle of San Juan de Ulua (built in the 16th century during the Spanish colonial era) looking over the port.

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(2017) Campeche (State of Campeche):

The city of Campeche is the capital of the state that shares its name. It was founded in the 16th century by the Spanish conquistadors and quickly became a major port. Regular pirate raids led the Spaniards to protect the city by a 2.56km-long defensive wall forming an irregular hexagon and connecting eight bastions (baluartes). Today, sections of the walls and seven bastions remain, along with the two entrance gates (Puerta del Mar and Puerta de Tierra). The old city within the limits of the wall has kept its original baroque colonial style and homogeneity, whereas the modern city is sprawling outside these limits.

 

Puerta del Mar (day and night views) on the northern side of the city, which used to give access to the sea.

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Puerta de Tierra on the southeastern side of the city. It was opened in the 18th century to give access to the new suburbs.

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The ″room of the pirate″ in the Puerta de Tierra.

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View over the old city from the terrace of the Puerta de Tierra.

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View over the modern city and a stretch of the defense wall (on the right) from the terrace of the Puerta de Tierra.

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Left: baluarte de San Carlos. Right: baluarte de San Francisco.

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Cathedral of Nuestra Senora de la Purisima Concepcion (16th century).

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Left: another view of the cathedral. Right: ex-Templo de San Jose (18th century); its right spire is a lighthouse.

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In the residence of a 19th-century upper-class family (the so-called Casa Numero 6 on Plaza Principal).

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Colorful streets of old Campeche.

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Calle 59, the street connecting Puerta del Mar to Puerta de Tierra.

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The Biblioteca de Campeche on the northern side of Plaza Principal.

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Mural near Plaza de la Republica: Maya-style meditation!

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In the Museo de la Arquitectura Maya (set inside the baluarte de la Soledad near Puerta del Mar). Left: sculpture representing K'inich Ajaw, the Maya sun god; the wings are believed to be an expression of the movement of the sun through the sky. Right: superb funerary mask found in Calakmul; made of 57 jade tiles, it is considered a masterpiece of Maya art.

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Fuerte de San Miguel, built on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, 4km west of the old city.

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View over the rampart toward the Gulf of Mexico.

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In the small but excellent Museo Arqueologico de Campeche (set inside the Fuerte de San Miguel):

- Maya sepulture with mummified body unearthed in 1995 (in Calakmul?).

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- Maya statuettes and stela excavated from archeological sites in the state of Campeche.

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