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VILLAHERMOSA

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VILLAHERMOSA

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Both a traditional and a modern countenance conform the urban face of Villahermosa, the Capital City of the State of Tabasco and a peacefully charming city that awakes with the soft whispers of the river and the fresh scent of the flowers of the Guayacán or Soapbush (Guaiacum angustifolium)

A magical awakening that encourages the visitor to go out and meet its urban features: the Zona Luz, where are preserved some noble buildings, authentic architectonical jewels; Tabasco 2000, its youngest and vanguard zone, daughter of the oil fever aroused in this Mexican region that, beyond its "black gold" existence, has the privilege of possessing some of the first vestiges of the Mesoamerican Culture.

The lands of Tabasco were the cradle of the Olmec Culture, considered as the Mother Culture in Central America. Its impressive legacy is one of the major attractions of this Mexican Region, and the perfect excuse to tour Villahermosa and its surroundings, which are not only strewn of archaeological compounds but of lands bursting with flora and fauna life.

On your stay in Villahermosa and the State of Tabasco you could not fail visiting the following places:

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    In the City:

    -The Plaza de Armas or Zócalo Main Square. This is the place where the people of Tabasco gather and makes conversation, an urban space that gets filled with movement, voices and music, specially during the weekends, when the heartbeat of the City becomes stronger.

    It is located between the 27 de Febrero Avenue and the Prolongación Nicolás Bravo Street, and is framed by the principal public and religious edifices of Villahermosa. From the Zócalo Square can be reached the pedestrian bridge Solidaridad, a perfect viewing point of the magnificent Grijalva River.

    Government Palace -The Palacio de Gobierno Government Palace. Its fine details of European origins bestow this Neoclassical styled building with a special atmosphere. It was designed by the architects Carlos Jerez and Pedro Folc. It was inaugurated in 1894 and it is told that the iron works on its balconies and windows were brought from France, while the marble used on its stairways is believed to be from Carrara in Italy.

    Its beautiful carved wood doors and its traditional clock installed on May, 1898 (One of the first of its kind in the City), are some of the details that enhance the appeal of this historic palace which is placed facing the Plaza de Armas or Main Square.

    -The Templo de la Concepción - Temple. Also known as "La Conchita" or the Small Shell, its past history has been marked by repeated reconstructions, hence being a difficult task to accurately establishing its original architectonic lines.

    In the present times, this Temple presents beautiful neo-Gothic features, with ogival vaulted windows over its façade and a belfry containing turrets and pinnacles toppled by roof tiles.

    The interior of the Temple is more austere, presenting only one nave and a lateral chapel. It contains a humble shrine and on the walls hang a few religious paintings. But the meagre ornamentation reflects weakly the illustrious history of this Church, whose original premise -which presented a roof of straw-, was erected in the year of 1800.

    The repeated refurbishing and structural changes it underwent resulted in the total loss of all vestiges of the original model. The last "rejuvenating" process took place in 1945. Since then it has suffered no major changes of its architectonical characteristics.

    The people of Villahermosa tell that this "House of God" was used as quarters for the Mexican troops during their heroic struggle against both the North American (1846 - 1848) and French (1862 - 1865) forces, resulting in severe damages upon its structure.

    The Templo de la Concepción is located facing the Plaza de Armas of Villahermosa, the Capital of the State of Tabasco.

    -The Catedral del Señor de Tabasco - Cathedral Church. Its handsome and stylised towers with Corinthian capitals can be admired from almost every corner of the City. Its proverbial magnificence also includes the fluted bodied columns of its façade. But this sumptuous external looks are in contradiction with the simplicity of the lines of its small central body and the ornamental austerity of its nave. This contradiction between its monumentality and its architectonical discretion could possibly be the main reason to make of this Cathedral of the Lord of Tabasco, built in the lapse between 1963 and 1973, a Temple of unforgettable beauty. It is located in the corner of the Paseo Tabasco Boulevard and the 27 de Febrero Avenue.

    The first Cathedral Church of El Señor de Tabasco was constructed in the nineteenth Century. This religious precinct was burned and destroyed during the anti-clerical campaign unleashed by the governor Tomás Garrido Canabal between the years of 1928 and 1934. This original Temple still exists in the area of the Morelos Park, having been currently renamed as Señor de Esquipulas.

    -The Museo de Historia de Tabasco Historical Museum. It was inaugurated in 1986 on the premises of the Casa de los Azulejos (the House of the Glazed Tiles), a splendid residence erected between the years of 1890 and 1915. The luxurious rooms of this mansion are now the halls in which the past history of the State of Tabasco are recovered and condensed, from its Pre-Hispanic origins to the present days, in between surveying the Colonial times, the Independence Wars and the Mexican Revolution, among other relevant occurrences.

    An incomparable canvas from the 18th Century depicting San Antonio de Padua and another painting showing a portrait of General Emiliano Zapata are only two of the most important relics owned by this Museum, which is located at the intersection of the 27 de Febrero Avenue and the Juárez Street, at the Centre of the City of Villahermosa.

    -The Museo Regional de Antropología Carlos Pellicer Regional Anthropology Museum. It shelters one of the best historical collections of the Olmec and Maya Cultures who inhabited the State of Tabasco in the Pre-Hispanic times, along other with archaeological objects found in the ancient Mesoamerican cities of Tlatilco and Teotihuacan.

    The Escuela Tecnológica was the first seat of this Museum in 1952. Several years later the present building was erected, thanks to the support given by the Poet of Tabasco Carlos Pellicer Cámara. The construction of the new place was concluded in 1976, but it was not until four years later that its doors were opened to the public.

    This Sanctuary of history exhibits drawings, scale models and other valuable archaeological objects that are helpful for the comprehension and knowledge of the development that was reached by the ancient cultures that dwelled in the territories of this State.

    In its ground floor an impressive statue of a smiling young Olmec maiden welcomes the visitor to a room that has been filled with huge monoliths from the archaeological Compounds of La Venta, Tortuguero and Reforma. These are the most impressive objects of the Museum, which is a constituting part of the Centro de Investigaciones de las Culturas Olmeca y Maya (CICOM) or The Centre for the Investigation of the Olmec and Mayan Cultures.

    In the second level exhibits several other objects with a great archaeological and artistic value, as the vaso pellicer, a polychrome piece from the Pre-Hispanic times, along with the urna de Teapa and a peculiar snail-shaped vessel.

    The address of this Museum is 511 Carlos Pellicer Street, on one of the banks of the Grijalva River.

    -The Casa Museo Carlos Pellicer Cámara Home Museum. The birth house as well as the residence of this beloved poet of Tabasco is nowadays a nice museum that permits to get acquainted with the terrestrial and creative world of this famous writer through some of his personal belongings.

    A very interesting exposition of photographs completes the attractions of this Museum-House, which was built in the 19th century following the typical style of the residences of the region. It can be located at the Sáenz Street, number 203, in the City of Villahermosa.

    -The Museo de Cultura Popular Folk Arts Museum. It was created in the year of 1984 with the finality of showing the visitors the different manifestations of popular art performed by the people of Tabasco, specially those from the Chontal Culture.

    In its two permanent halls for exhibitions can be observed the typical garments and musical instruments used for the dances of this region. There are also shown some of the devices employed in their religious ceremonies as well as those required by the peasants for their daily labours, as the jícaras labradas (pepper wood carved spoons), cages and bird traps among other instruments.

    The visit ends with a tour through the temporary show rooms, which are renewed every month, exhibiting pieces from the popular art of Tabasco as well as from other Mexican States.

    This Museum is sited in 810 Ignacio Zaragoza Avenue, Villahermosa.

    -Planetarium. A trip to the stars without leaving the Earth. An exciting journey through the constellations and galaxies, an astronomic adventure allowed by the advanced technology of the Planetarium of Villahermosa, one of the most spectacular ones of the Country.

    Located at the architectonical compound of Tabasco 2000 (a state of the art urban space inside the Capital of the State), the Planetarium stores for its guests an ample astronomical information and spectacular projections reproducing the firmament as seen from different parts of the world around the year. Furthermore, there are lectures and expositions about scientific items and a fascinating solar clock watch positioned in the area of its large courtyard. It can be located at the Prolongación del Paseo de Tabasco Boulevard.

    -The Parque Tabasco - Park. Owing to its colossal extension of 108 hectares, this is one of the biggest parks in Mexico. A place that is full of greenery among which can be found a dolphin's pool, to witness some theatrical performances and bet some change around an arena for cockfights. It is also the place where the traditional Fair of Tabasco takes place every year during the month of April, an occasion of a great importance around the State, consisting in exhibitions, trading and contests of livestock, produce, handcraft and food among other activities.

    For these and many other reasons, the Park of Tabasco, sited in the architectonical compound of Tabasco 2000, is one of the most visited places of Villahermosa.

    Park Museum -The Parque Museo de La Venta - Park Museum. Both history and culture among open spaces, underneath the sun, the moon and the stars. A place where the archaeological inheritance left by the Olmecs meets with the natural richness of the State of Tabasco. Then, the only thing left to do is to marvel at the face of those colossal stone sculptures of Pre-Hispanic origins or even to get a little scared when out of nowhere comes the faraway roar of a jaguar.

    On its 6,8 hectares of extension, this park museum exhibits a group of magnificent pieces that were extracted from the Archaeological Compound of La Venta, which was an important urban, religious and administrative Olmec centre, located at a distance of 130 kilometres to the West of Villahermosa.

    Within this Pre-Hispanic legacy stand out three colossal stone heads measuring more than two metres high and easily weighting more than 20 tons. These massive sculptures that were done with basaltic stone would had assumedly been some very realistic portraits of the past leaders of the Olmec Civilization.

    There can also be seen some striking bass-relief carved slender stones (Stelae) and superb altars provided with niches, among many other Olmec objects which were brought to the City between 1957 and 1958 following the initiative of the poet of Tabasco Carlos Pellicer, who noticed that the Archaeological Compound of La Venta was located within an area where drillings to extract petroleum were been performed, so he considered it was a true necessity to store the historical objects of this site in a more safe place.

    So aroused the idea of building a park museum that recreated the tropical environment of La Venta, choosing for that end the shores of the Laguna de las Ilusiones (the Lagoon of the Illusions). When the works were concluded, the archaeological objects were positioned in the same relative places in which they were in the Olmec compound, whose culture is considered as the "womb" of the great Mesoamerican civilisation that appeared circa the first millennium of our era.

    The attractions of this Park have been complemented by a 24.000 square metre zoo that shelters some 600 animal species, among which stand out the jaguars and crocodiles, along with an ample variety of native plants, specially of ornamental plants and fruit trees.

    This Park-Museum is located at the Adolfo Ruiz Cortines Avenue, in Villahermosa.

    -The Museo de Historia Natural - Museum of Natural History. It was inaugurated in 1988 as a part of the facilities of the Tomás Garrido Park. It comprises five rooms for permanent expositions and one for temporal ones. Along its halls several themes as the evolution of man, the Earth and its relationship with the Universe, life and the theories around its origin, the resources and tools employed in primitive human activities as fishing, agriculture and stockbreeding, are explained in a most didactic and entertaining way ending with an exhibition of the ecosystems in the State of Tabasco.

    This modern edifice also takes in auditoriums for conferences, workshops for children and areas for other cultural activities. It is located at the Adolfo Ruiz Cortines Avenue, besides the important Park-Museum of La Venta.

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