Here ends the pre Hispanic history of Tabasco; here begins the history
, the state capital located at 863
kilometres from Mexico City. Its origins date back to 1519, when
Cortes, perhaps after getting The Malinche, founded the first Spanish
enclave on the left bank of the Grijalva River, which he baptised
with the name of Santa Maria Victoria.
Years later, due to the constant attacks from the pirates, the city
had to be moved upstream, hence its name was changed to Villahermosa
de San Juan Bautista. This would be the beginning of an agitated
history, marked by struggles and clashes that would eventually "erase"
any trace of the old colonial constructions that adorned the capital
of Tabasco from the current urban physiognomy.
The succession of violent events began in 1846, when the city was
bombed by US troops willing to invade it; the violent attacks were
repeated in 1863 and 1864, though this time the aggressors were
the interventionist French forces. The enemy was different, although
the result was the same: Villahermosa
The struggles were internal in the XX century; the so-called Christ War, an unusual confrontation between the Mexican Nation and the Catholic Church, was unleashed between 1926 and 1929. The conflict reached unbelievable proportions in Tabasco, when Governor Tomas Garrido Canabal led an aggressive anticlerical campaign that included the destruction of several temples.
But all this is part of the past, and now Villahermosa awakens with the delicate murmur of the river and the fresh aroma of the flowers of the guaiacums. A pleasant atmosphere that invites to tour the Light Zone, it most traditional face, and admire the superb House of the Glazed Tiles, the Palace of Government with its fine European finishes, or the Cathedral of the Lord of Tabasco and its stylised belfries.
It also reveals itself as a present-day and modern city, due to
a process of architectonic dynamism that started in the 1970s, when
the State of Tabasco turned into one of the main oil-producing regions
in the country, a condition that changed the urban geography of
Dazzling buildings and ample recreational centres changed the physiognomy of the state capital, being the so-called Tabasco 2000 Zone the main showcase of progress, the best example of the rejuvenated city. Here you can find the huge, exuberant and amusing Tabasco Park, with a sea aquarium and an open-air theatre, and the Planetarium, one of the main observatories of Mexico.
The other face of the medal is the La Venta Park Museum, which exhibits valuable Olmeca sculptures made of basaltic stone, besides slabs carved in bas-relief and gorgeous altars that reveal the greatness of the pre Hispanic man; historical testimonies that are complemented by an amusing zoo, with local flora and fauna species.
The tour through the aisles of Mesoamerican history must continue along the rooms of the Carlos Pellicer Regional Museum of Anthropology, a flashy building housing excellent samples of the diverse cultures that inhabited the State of Tabasco before the Hispanic presence. The objects, mainly of Olmeca and Mayan origins, come from the ancient Cities of Tlatilco and Teotihuacán.
The vestiges from the past are also a temping alternative on the outskirts of the city. A coming and going through remote cities that reveal the greatness of the first Mesoamericans, those who built Comalcalco, with its singular buildings made of brick, mud, sand and seashells; La Venta, with its high-precision urban concepts; and Pomona, with its impressive hieroglyphs and pyramidal buildings.
And after submerging in the "sea of history", there is nothing like
starting a chancy trip in search of the biodiversity of Villahermosa
which has its main bastion at the Yumká Centre for the Interpretation
and Coexistence with Nature, a extremely vast ecological park 110
hectares wide, where flora and fauna species on the brink of extinction
are protected and their conservation is assisted.
Other natural spaces are Coconá, a cave of capricious shapes and mysterious caverns; and Koleem-Jaa, a spectacular ecological reserve on the southernmost tip of Tabasco where there is no lack of beautiful mountains, waterfalls and rivers in which one can feel the adrenaline through the practice of diverse sport activities, such as trekking, rappelling and mountain biking.
and the entire Tabasco have been rediscovered
for travellers; and nowadays, one of the most important oil-producing
states in Mexico is not only a place to be crossed in the search
of the unfathomable mysteries of the forest of Chiapas, but an authentic
destination in which the preterit and the modern worlds come together.
Perhaps a new civilising seed is germinating in these warm lands.