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Campeche was founded in 1540 by Spanish conquistadores as San Francisco de Campeche atop the pre-existing Maya city of Campech or Kimpech. The city retains many of the old colonial Spanish city walls and fortifications which protected the city (not always successfully) from pirates and buccaneers. The state of preservation and quality of its architecture earned it the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
Originally, the Spaniards lived inside the walled city, while the natives lived in the surrounding barrios of San Francisco, Guadalupe and San Román. These barrios still retain their original churches. (Worldheritagesite.org)
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