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Historic Monuments Zone of Tlacotalpan

Historic Monuments Zone of Tlacotalpan

Tlacotalpan, a Spanish colonial river port on the Gulf coast of Mexico, was founded in the mid-16th century. It has preserved its original urban fabric to a remarkable degree, with wide streets, colonnaded houses in a profusion of styles and colours, and many mature trees in the public open spaces and private gardens.

Zone de monuments historiques de Tlacotalpan

Tlacotalpan, port fluvial colonial espagnol situé sur la côte du golfe du Mexique, fut fondée au milieu du XVIe siècle et son tissu urbain d'origine est particulièrement bien conservé. Tout son caractère apparaît dans ses rues larges, aux maisons à colonnades bâties dans une exubérante diversité de styles et de couleurs, aux nombreux arbres anciens ornant les espaces publics et les jardins privés.

منطقة النصب التاريخية في تلكُتلبن

يقع مرفأ تلكُتلبن النهري الذي استعمره الأسبان، على ساحل خليج المكسيك. وقد تأسَّس في منتصف القرن السادس عشر وتمّت المحافظة بشكلٍ جيد على نسيجه المدني الأصلي. فمزاياه كلّها تظهر في الشوارع العريضة المليئة بالمنازل المؤلفة من صفّ أعمدة والتي شُيّدت في تنوّعٍ كبيرٍ من الأساليب والألوان، وبالعديد من الأشجار القديمة التي تزيّن الساحات العامة والحدائق الخاصة.

source: UNESCO/ERI

塔拉科塔潘历史遗迹区

塔拉科塔潘城建于公元16世纪中期,位于墨西哥湾沿岸,是西班牙殖民者建立的一个内河港口城市。该城古老的城市建筑得到了很好保护,我们今天仍然可以看到那里有宽阔的街道、风格色彩各异的带柱廓房屋以及公共场地和私人庭院中的参天古树。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Зона исторических памятников в городе Тлакотальпан

Тлакотальпан, испанский колониальный речной порт вблизи побережья Мексиканского залива, был основан в середине XVI в. Он сохранил в значительной степени свой оригинальный городской облик – с широкими улицами, домами, украшенными колоннами и различающимися своими стилями и окраской, и с множеством могучих деревьев, произрастающих на открытых общественных пространствах и в частных садах.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Zona de monumentos históricos de Tlacotalpán

Situada en la costa del golfo de México, la ciudad portuaria fluvial de Tlacotalpán fue fundada por los españoles a mediados del siglo XVI. Ha conservado admirablemente su tejido urbano de la época colonial con calles anchas, casas con columnatas de una gran diversidad de estilos y colores, y numerosos árboles de edad venerable que ornamentan los espacios públicos y los jardines privados.

source: UNESCO/ERI

トラコタルパンの歴史遺跡地帯
メキシコ湾岸のスペイン植民市の河港であるトゥラコタルパンは、16世紀中頃に建設された。中世初期の都市構造を見事なまでに保存し、スペインとカリブ地域との伝統を巧みに融合させた都市の輪郭を形成している。また、光や雨、風などの気候条件に適応させた独自の建築様式は、広い道路、多彩な様式と色彩に彩られた柱廊付き邸宅、公共広場や私邸庭園に繁茂する樹木などの傑出した景観をよく示している。

source: NFUAJ

Historische monumentenzone van Tlacotalpan

Tlacotalpan is een Spaanse koloniale rivierhaven aan de kust van de Golf van Mexico die halverwege de 16e eeuw werd opgericht. De nederzetting heeft zijn originele stedelijke karakter tot op zekere hoogte behouden, met brede straten, huizen met zuilen in een overvloed aan stijlen en kleuren, en veel volwassen bomen in openbare open ruimtes en privétuinen. Tlacotalpan heeft een dambordpatroon – een stedelijke vorm die zeldzaam is in Latijns-Amerika – en is ongeveer 1.550 meter lang en 520 meter breed. De nederzetting is verdeeld in twee verschillende sectoren: de Spaanse wijk en de inheemse wijk.

Source: unesco.nl

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Historic Monuments Zone of Tlacotalpan © Ko Hon Chiu Vincent
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief Synthesis

Tlacotalpan, is an exceptionally well-preserved Spanish colonial river port close to the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The original urban plan, a checkerboard or grid pattern, laid out by the Spanish in the mid 16th century, has been preserved to a remarkable degree. Its wide streets are lined with colonnaded houses that reflect a vernacular Caribbean tradition with exuberant decoration and colour. Many mature trees can be found in the public parks, open spaces and private gardens. Initially settled by the Spanish around 1550, the settlement reached its major brilliance in the 19th century.

The surviving grid pattern consists of 153 blocks covering 75 hectares and divided into two distinct sectors, the larger “Spanish” quarter in the west and smaller “native quarter in the east. The larger quarter is created by seven wide streets or calles laid out east-west parallel to the Papaloapan River and connected by narrow lanes or callejones. The “public” sector, an irregularly-shaped area found at the intersection of the two quarters, has commercial and official buildings as well as public open spaces.

Arcades of arched porticos line the streets. These arcades are supported by pillars varying in form and style from simple beams to fluted columns with elaborately ornamented bases, capitals and moulded cornices. Tlacotalpan has retained an unusual density of high-quality historic buildings that provide architectural harmony and homogeneity. While the basic vernacular style is found elsewhere on the Mexican Gulf Coast, Tlacotalpan’s single-storey houses exhibit distinctive manifestations that include a profusion of brightly-coloured exteriors and original features such as the roof coverings of curved terra cotta tiles and the layouts with interior courtyards.

Criterion (ii) the urban layout and architecture of Tlacotalpan represent a fusion of Spanish and Caribbean traditions of exceptional importance and quality.

Criterion (iv) Tlacotalpan is a Spanish colonial river port near the Gulf coast of Mexico, which has preserved its original urban fabric to an exceptional degree. Its outstanding character lies in its townscape of wide streets, modest houses in an exuberant variety of styles and colours, and many mature trees in public and private open spaces.

Integrity 

The integrity of Tlacotalpan’s historic zone is established by the retention of the original grid pattern of the and the relationship of buildings to open spaces with mature trees. A significant number of surviving historic buildings exhibit traditional elements including the exuberant colours and tile roofs.

Integrity is threatened primarily by inappropriate renovations to historic buildings along with incompatible land use, particularly along the river that threatens the integrity of the natural environment as well as the landscape. Flooding continues to be of concern although the frequency and severity of floods has been reduced through the development of an effective system of drainage and the cleaning of adjacent marshlands. Regardless, flood management needs to continue including the Malecon project and controls of hydroelectric dams.

Authenticity

Tlacotalpan’s authenticity is established by the retention of its urban fabric, dating to the 17th century. The checkerboard street pattern laid out adjacent to the river, the arched colonnades along the main facades of the traditional houses which in turn have preserved their overall form, scale, decoration and colours. Moreover, the many of the houses retain their interior layout and even traditional furnishings.

Protection and management requirements

The conservation of the historic centre of Tlacotalpan is legally protected at both the state and federal level. In 1968, the State of Veracruz declared it “Typical Conservation Town” Typical City and of natural beauty. In 1986 it was declared a Historic Monuments Zone by federal law with the responsibility for its management under of the national organizations Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH) and Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA). A “transition zone” that extends across the Papaloapan River was defined in the Urban Development Plan (established in 1985 and revised in 1997) served as a buffer zone at the time of inscription.

A current programme of Urban Classification is designed to assist with future growth and improvements to the urban infrastructure while ensuring that appropriate conservation methods are undertaken. INAH and Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (FONCA) have assisted in the development of a management plan completed in November 2007. This document identified diverse actions for regeneration of the city in general to improve the economy through the creation of jobs and increased tourism. Other plans relate to the Integral Improvement of the Malecon (2010) and a risk preparedness project relating to flooding.

In order to implement any of the programs identified above, which guarantee the conservation, protection and improvement of the site, a coordinated approach involving the participation of both municipal and state authorities with the INAH is required.

Long Description

The urban layout and architecture of Tlacotalpan represent a fusion of Spanish and Caribbean traditions of exceptional importance and quality. It is a Spanish colonial river port on the Gulf Coast of Mexico which has preserved its original urban fabric to an exceptional degree. Its outstanding character lies in its townscape of wide streets, modest houses in an exuberant variety of styles and colours, and many mature trees in public and private open spaces.

As an interior riverine port, Tlacotalpan is a rare form of urban settlement in Latin America. It is laid out on a chequerboard pattern, covering some 1,550 m by 520 m, and is divided into two distinct sectors. The larger of these, to the west, is the 'Spanish' quarter and the smaller, to the east, is the 'native' quarter. At their junction there is an irregularly shaped 'public' sector, where public open spaces and official and commercial buildings are located. The plan of the western part is orientated on seven main streets running east-west parallel to the river, and are intersected by narrow lanes.

The ethnic origins of the pre-Hispanic people inhabiting the region to the north and north-east of Tlacotalpan are not fully understood. However, the names of the river Papaloapan (Butterfly River) and other settlements nearby are Nahuatl, which suggests that it was under Aztec domination. The present name of the town is a Spanish version of Tlaxcotaliapan ('Land between the Waters'), the name of the island where the initial settlement was established; following modification of the north bank of the river, it was joined to the mainland. The mouth of the Papaloapan River was discovered by Juan de Grijalba in 1518. Pedro de Alvarado sailed up it and in 1521 Cortés sent Gonzalo de Sandoval to find gold.

The site of Tlacotalpan formed part of an enormous grant of land made around 1550 by the Spanish King to Gaspar Rivadeneyra, on which he kept livestock. He was unable to prevent the establishment of a village of fishermen on the site of the present-day town, but he obliged them to build a chapel dedicated to La Virgen de la Candelaria.

This was a region that was slow to be colonized by the Spanish. Census returns show that there were only 12 Spaniards there in 1544 and the figure had not risen above 320 by 1777. There is less precise information on the growth of the non-Spanish population, but in 1808 there were 1,156 Indians and 1,616 pardos (mixed-race descendants of Indians and blacks). The town was largely destroyed by fire in 1698, 1788 and 1790. The roofs of the houses had to be tiled and they had to be separated by open spaces planted with trees. For those who did not possess the means for costly reconstruction in conformity with these regulations, plots were made available for purchase 'at reasonable prices' in the eastern part of the village on which they could build cottages. It was around this time, at the turn of the 18th century, that French, German and Italian immigrants settled in the area to plant and weave cotton, which was despised by the Spanish but prized by the English.

It was not until 1821 that Tlacotalpan experienced any economic expansion. It became the port for the products of Oaxaca and Puebla destined for Veracruz and beyond to New Orleans, Havana and Bordeaux. By 1855 its fleet had grown to 18 steamers and one large sailing ship, used to transport timber, tobacco, cotton, grain, sugar, brandy, leather, salt meat, crocodiles, heron feathers, furniture and soap.

The year 1849 saw the building of the Nezahuacoyotl Theatre and the Municipal Palace, the latter one of only 10 two-storeyed buildings at that time. By the opening years of the 20th century it was a thriving town with eight schools, three hotels, nine factories and 100 houses with a single storey. However, economic activities declined during the first half of the century. Its population was only a little larger from 1950 to 1980.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

The ethnic origins of the prehispanic people inhabiting the region to the north and north-east of Tlacotalpan are not fully understood. However, the names of the river Papaloapan (Butterfly River) and other settlements nearby are Nahuatl, which suggests that it was under Aztec domination. The present name of the town is a Spanish version of Tlaxcotaliapan ("Land between the Waters), the name of the island where the initial settlement was established; following modification of the north bank of the river, it was joined to the mainland.

The mouth of the Papaloapan river was discovered by Juan de Grijalba in 1518. Pedro de Alvarado sailed up it and in 1521 Cortés sent Gonzalo de Sandoval to find gold.

The site of Tlacotalpan formed part of an enormous grant of land made around 1550 by the Spanish King to Gaspar Rivadeneyra, on which he kept livestock. He was unable to prevent the establishment of a village of fishermen on the site of the present-day town, but he obliged them to build a chapel dedicated to La Virgen de la Candelaria.

This was a region that was slow to be colonized by the Spanish. Census returns show that there were only twelve Spamiards there in 1544 and the figure had not risen above 320 by 1777. There is less precise information on the growth of the non-Spanish population, but in 1808 there were 1156 Indians and 1616 pardos (mixed-race descendants of Indians and blacks).

The town was largely destroyed by fire in 1698, 1788, and 1790, and the last of these fires led to local government to impose controls that were to change its character radically. The roofs of the houses had to be tiled and they had to be separated by open spaces planted with trees. For those who did not possess the means for costly reconstruction in conformity with these regulations, plots were made available for purchase "at reasonable prices" in the eastern part of the village on which they could build cottages.

It was around this time at the turn of the 18th century that French, German, and Italian immigrants settled in the area to plant and weave cotton, which was despised by the Spanish but prized by the English.

It was not until 1821 that Tlacotalpan experienced any economic expansion. It became the port for the products of Oaxaca and Puebla destined for Veracruz and beyond to New Orleans, Havana, and Bordeaux. By 1855 its fleet had grown to eighteen steam-ships and one large sailing ship, used to transport timber, tobacco, cotton, grain, sugar, brandy, leather, salt meat, crocodiles, heron feathers, furniture, and soap.

The year 1849 saw the building of the Nezahuacoyotl Theatre and the Municipal Palace, the latter one of only ten two-storeyed buildings at that time. Tlacotalpan was granted the status of a town by the central government in 1865, and other public buildings, such as the Hospital and the New Market were completed as the century continued. By the opening years of the 20th century it was a thriving town with eight schools, three hotels, nine factories, 100 houses with a single storey, 25 with two, and one with three storey, as well as 54 cottages. However, economic activities declined during the first half of the century and the town has been relatively stagnant in this respect ever since. Its population, which was 5613 in 1859, was only little larger in 1950. It now stands at 8850, a level that it has maintained since 1980.

Although its economic role has diminished, Tlacotalpan is an important cultural centre. It is especially renowned for the way in which it celebrates the feast of its patron, the Virgen de la Candelaria: whilst the official feast day is 2 February, the celebrations begin at the end of January and continue with dancing and other spectacles in the plazas and streets for a whole week.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation