Ciudad del Carmen The Pearl of the Gulf
Before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, Ciudad del Carmen was an important bridge between the Aztec and Mayan civilizations in Mesoamerica. During the colonial era, pirates used it as a base of attack against the Spanish until 1717 when it was finally taken by the Spaniards. For much of the modern age, it was a small fishing village, but in the late 1970s oil was discovered, and the city experienced a period of growth. In the 1980s, the longest bridges in Mexico was built to connect the island to the mainland - a trip previously only managed by boat. Despite the 20th century build-up, the city still has a few reminders of its past, such as the preserved narrow streets around the old Calle del Comercio, and the 18th century Baroque Cathedral. The small museum housed in the old Victoriano Nieves Céspedes Hospital building is also worth a visit, exhibiting both Mayan and pirate artefacts.
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