Fortresses built by the Spanish Crown in Mexican coasts are considered a defense system that generated a specific architectural style; considering this, specialists from different institutions have proposed that the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) promotes their inscription to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List.


Experts in Military Architecture declared that forts as San Juan de Ulua, in Veracruz, or Bacalar, in Quintana Roo, are intimately linked to the cities and are part of inhabitants’ identity, making their protection important, as well as keeping their bond with society.

Academics from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) and National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) announced the 1st Research Forum on San Juan de Ulua and Military Architecture, which gathers more than 20 specialists in the theme.

The encounter counts on with support from the Spanish Embassy in Mexico, and begins in November 23rd 2009 at the National School of Restoration, Conservation and Museography (ENCRyM), mentioned its director Liliana Giorguli and ending in November 25th.

In press conference, Miguel Angel Echegaray, chief adviser of INAH General Direction, and specialist in the theme, declared that the fact of the constructive system developed in Mexico during 17th and 18th centuries have included several countries, may derive into a regional cooperation program with other nations to jointly enhance this built cultural heritage.

“The forum will be an opportunity to know details of research and conservation projects taking place to present in San Juan de Ulua, allowing advances both in knowledge of the building as well as conservation politics regarding this kind of monuments”, declared Echegaray.

The academic meeting gathered specialists as renowned as Manuel Rodriguez Viqueira, Carlos Gonzalez Lobo and Jorge Gonzalez Aragon, who manifested that one of the objectives of the summon is to raise awareness on regard of the historical relevance of these constructions, built on Mexican and Caribbean coasts to defend cities and merchandise from pirates.

At the first gathering, themes of historical transcendence such as underwater archaeology and submerged heritage, military constructive systems in Hispanic America, the Silver Route and the military elements of Hispanic-Muslim alcazabas, will be discussed.

As part of the encounter, the exhibition Corpus Urbanistico. Fortificaciones Costeras de Mexico (Urbanistic Corpus. Coastal Fortresses of Mexico) presents for the first time in the country replicas of ancient charts from 17th and 18th centuries, conserved in restricted-access historical archives in Spain, facilitated by the Embassy and authorities of organizing institutions.

Miguel Angel Echegaray revealed that with the exhibition of these historical documents that describe transformations of maritime fortresses through history, the INAH pretends to reactivate activities at Galeria Universitaria Aristos, located in the new seat of the Institute.

With the interest of revaluing historic fortresses, organizing institutions edited the book Corpus Urbanistico. Fortificaciones costeras de Mexico en los archivos españoles. Arquitectura militar, written by Jorge Gonzalez Aragon, Manuel Rodriguez Viqueira and Norma Rodrigo Cervantes, where graphic material about Mexico proceeding from Spanish archives is presented.