The city of Campeche is the capital of the state of Campeche. It has a number of very fine museums. One of the finest is the Museum of Maya Architecture. It is located in Baluarte Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, one of eight bastions built along the colonial walls to protect the city from pirate raids.
In this posting, I'll first show you a little of the Baluarte. Then we'll look at the museum which is housed within it. The museum focuses on the four pre-hispanic architectural styles found in the state of Campeche. I have illustrated this part with photos I took at various sites during our visit. Next, I'll show some of the museum's stone carvings, statues, and stelae that adorned temples, pyramids, and palaces found around the state of Campeche. I'll end the posting with some of the beautiful grave goods found in Campeche's royal tombs.
Baluarte La Soledad
There is a long structure shaped like a "P" just behind the Baluarte. It is the old Customs Office, known as El Palacio, which now holds the Cultural Center. El Palacio forms the north side of the Plaza Principal (Main Plaza of Campeche). To the east is the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Purisma Concepción. Directly across from El Palacio is a building that was the colonial palace of one of Campeche's leading citizens, but now contains a restaurant and various stores.
Its name refers to the solitude of the Virgin Mary on Holy Saturday. She is considered to be the protectress of sailors and ships.
In the 17th century, Campeche was the most important port and commercial center of the Yucatan Peninsula. A particularly important export was palo tinte, (dyestick) which was used to make a dye highly valued in Europe. In addition, Campeche was the entry point for many European goods eagerly sought by the Spanish residents of Yucatan. All this commercial traffic quickly caught the eye of the pirates who infested the Gulf and the Caribbean at that time.