Where to go for a walk in the port of Veracruz?

The port of Veracruz is a must-see destination thanks to its many attractions and traditions. Find out what you can do and see here.

Where to go for a walk in the port of Veracruz?
The Tall Ships arrived in Veracruz, the last port on the itinerary of the "Velas Latinoamérica 2022" sailing event. Photo: Armada Argentina

Considered the main gateway to America, it witnessed the commercial exchange between New Spain and the Iberian Peninsula, and the Caribbean. Its economic importance was reflected in the urban layout of the city and in the system of fortifications that guarded it against pirate attacks for many years until its demolition at the end of the 19th century.

The city became a group of masonry buildings, neighborhoods, convents, churches, and portals that defined the face of the port in which the black, indigenous, and Spanish mixture marked the identity of the "jarochos" who walked, walk, and will walk its streets, avenues, and squares. Check out what you can do and see in the port of Veracruz.

Portals of Veracruz

One of the most important meeting centers of the port of Veracruz is the portals of the main square whose construction permit dates back to 1595. These represented the economic power given their commercial use and were erected near the ecclesiastical and political powers, they have been modified over time.

The most important café in the place, La Parroquia, founded in the 19th century, is located in them. This establishment has represented a fragment of the history of the port, where political and social meetings that have determined the course of the city have taken place.

Music, colors, flavors, and smells are mixed in this space where to the rhythm of the son jarocho the women of Veracruz tap dance among the waves of white lace of their costumes and the guitars and harps that are in the hands of the residents of Veracruz harmonize every moment.

San Carlos Military Hospital

By the beginning of the 19th century, it was considered that the hospital network in New Spain was relevant. This hospital network allowed that, of the 28 that were established throughout the territory, five were military.

However, the area of health from the perspective of the members of its armed forces raises a series of elements that involve not only health but also political and economic aspects. Specialists highlight the capture of Havana by the English in 1762, as one of the elements that boosted the attention to the defensive networks of the Spanish territories.

The existence of hospital infrastructure with a military profile in our current national territory began with the construction in the 18th century of the Royal Hospital of San Carlos, one of the hospitals located in the port of Veracruz. The building, located in the area of today's historic center, played an important role during the interventions suffered by the city, in addition to providing aid in cases of epidemics that devastated the port.

Its construction took several years, first occupying the facilities of the Women's Hospital and the Loreto Hospital, until around 1780, when an expansion was made to build the facilities that currently belong to it. Sometime later, nearby properties were acquired that allowed for the expansion of the services it provided.

References about epidemics in Veracruz during the 19th century document the passage (among others) of smallpox, yellow fever (also known as black vomit), measles, bubonic plague, and cholera (which, even at the beginning of the 20th century, had an impact on the population); and on the different occasions the hospital institution provided support to the citizens.

The anecdotes of the American invasion of 1847 reflect the case of Veracruz as a remarkable element. The city, bombarded by land and sea, resented in a notorious way the American siege, which damaged infrastructure beyond the forts that established the defense from the wall that guarded the municipality.

Located very close to the wall in the western area, the facilities of the military hospital were affected, which forced repairs to the building, which by 1862 made it possible to house up to 300 beds inside.

The second American intervention, in April 1914, marks another milestone of the services provided by the hospital during the difficult times of the population, once again assisting the wounded who arrived requiring help between the 21st and 23rd.

The building currently has three courtyards, a central one and two facing the side streets; in the first one, the original façade of the building can be identified, while in the one facing the street to the south, the hospital's infirmary can be distinguished.

The Huaca neighborhood

Shortly before becoming known as the emblematic neighborhood of the Huaca, in the 19th century, a street outside the wall was named after Luis Johnson, who built a series of wooden rooms with Catalan tile roofs (Gema Lozano). Its name has several meanings, from the one that relates it to the Peruvian god of death, the other that links it with the discovery of indigenous treasures, or the one that relates it to the Nahuatl: "shotgun with two cannons".

Beyond its meaning, the neighborhood still keeps within its courtyards, houses, and streets, the history, tradition, and joy of other times. A neighborhood that was the birthplace of politicians, singers, and baseball players; from which also emerged carnival troupes integrated by its inhabitants, some of which to this day continue to participate with their joy, dance, and evolutions in the carnival parades.

In the neighborhood of the Huaca, the courtyards formed labyrinths of houses where daily life, with its row of sinks, common bathrooms, and celebration of family, religious or traditional festivities, gave another nuance to the city of Veracruz. From the Huaca emerged brave men and women who stood up to an invasion or to defend their right to their homes.

Some of the characters who lived and inhabited the space called Huaca were Manlio Fabio Tapia Camacho, who was municipal president of Veracruz; Dr. Salvador Zaudio Novoa; the artists María Antonia Peregrino "Toña la Negra", the Peregrino brothers, Pedro Domínguez "Moscovita" and the sonero mayor Ignacio Tellez "El Cabezón". Sportsmen such as baseball player Pedro "Charrascas" Ramirez, Lorenzo and Raymundo O'rrellin, boxers, and the carnival king Monchin Alfaro "Cara de Anona", among many others, undoubtedly forged the history of this emblematic neighborhood.

Boca Forum

Precinct headquarters of the Boca del Río Philharmonic Orchestra, designed by Mexican architect Michel Rojkind. It was inaugurated on December 1, 2017, by the Boca del Río Philharmonic, with Jorge Mester as chief conductor, and international violinist Joshua Bell. The precinct takes up in its architecture the timeless expression of the concrete cubes that form the breakwaters.

It has a main hall for classical, traditional, and popular music concerts with a capacity of 966 spectators, as well as theater, dance, and film shows. It also has a rehearsal room for 150 people.

The space is also designed for workshops, festivals, and book fairs. It has a terrace overlooking the sea and the river. The private area of the building responds mainly to the needs of the philharmonic orchestra with rehearsal rooms for percussion, pianos, and soloists, as well as a recording studio. It includes general dressing rooms for conductors and guest musicians, as well as for the director of the Philharmonic. The building also has an office and library area, cafeterias, and a restaurant.

Cantonal School of Veracruz Francisco Xavier Clavijero

The building is located in the downtown area of the city. It has architecture identified as neoclassical and, according to the perception of the time, it is located in the center of a park (named after the Veracruz defender Ciriaco Vázquez). Built-in the 19th century, it was part of the schools that were established in each of the territorial divisions of the state in the 19th century. This political division, known as cantons, was established in 1824 as an inheritance of what was established according to the Constitution of Cadiz, which did not end up coming into force in Mexico, but which allowed the first political divisions in Mexico.

In the case of the State of Veracruz, whose State Constitution was promulgated in 1825, education was left in the hands of the City Councils, which made infrastructure and developed the work according to their possibilities. It will be in the middle of the XIX Century, during the government of Francisco Hernández y Hernández (1867 to 1872), that the largest number of schools will be established, assigned by cantons, and more students will be attended.

Francisco de Landero y Cos, governor of the entity who succeeded Hernández y Hernández, was the one who issued the Organic Law of Public Instruction of the state, which initiated the educational change and, in the end, allowed the construction of the building. During the state government of Juan de la Luz Enriquez, around 1884, the construction of the cantonal schools that would provide educational services in the state began.

It was in 1886 when the Francisco Javier Clavijero Elementary School began to operate, which served a child population under the name of Boys' School number 1, and later became known as the Boys' High School.