September is here, the most patriotic month, the most Mexican month, and with it a new era of Colors and Textures starts at Ik’nam.
Laguna del Carpintero (Carpenter's Lagoon) with the bridge of Tampico at the back
I always used Colors and Textures to show you some places around Mexico and its traditions, but I only showed you photos. I always wanted this to be a little more and let’s say it’s never too late to do it, like 5 years later. And what a better way to start this era than by showing you were Ik’nam started.
Ik’nam was born 5 years ago in the south area of the state of Tamaulipas, not in one city only. For those who are not familiarized with this territory, I’m talking about Tampico, Ciudad Madero and Altamira, the three cities that are part of this region. A Huastec, coastal and northern region, all the same time. I, Cynthia Limón, was born in Tampico, have lived all my life in Ciudad Madero and studied in Altamira, where Ik’nam was born. That’s why Ik’nam doesn’t come from one city only, but from a whole region.
When you meet someone from this area, that person will probably refer to it as Tampico, but it’s much more than that. These three cities merge in the south of Tamaulipas, just by the shore of the Pánuco river bordering the state of Veracruz, in the middle of the Huasteca. We are located in the “Alta Huasteca (Upper Huasteca)”, a Huastec region that differentiates from the ones you’ll find to the south in Veracruz or to the west in San Luis Potosí due to the weather and the land of the area. There are not many archeological sites left here, only the “Pirámide de las Flores (The Flowers Pyramid)”, a small pyramid protected by the INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History). There is not too much left of this culture here either, but you can find towns not too far away in San Luis Potosí and Veracruz with their palm leaf and clay handcrafts and colorful textiles. Believe me when I tell you that they’re really beautiful. I promise to talk to you about them soon.
Meanwhile, let me talk to you a little more about these three cities and ports. Let’s start in chronological order.
Altamira was founded in 1749. Its name was given in honor of the marquis of Altamira, Juan Rodríguez de Albuerne, by José de Escandón, who was count of the Sierra Gorda then. It was from this city where the main inhabitants of Tampico departed from years later.
It is a city with a vast territory, the biggest of the three, and it is in constant expansion thanks to its port and industrial corridor that hold a large number of national and international companies. Altamira also has a large lagoon system with lagoons like Miralta, El Champayán and El Chairel.
Panoramic view of the Port of Tampico with the building the ancient maritime customs building, the Pánuco river and the state of Veracruz at the other side of the river
Tampico was founded in 1823 by the name of Santa Anna of Tampico. It’s name means “Place of Water Dogs (Otters)” in Huastec. It has been place of famous battles like “La Victoria de Tampico (The Victory of Tampico)” in 1829 were the Mexican army fought against the Spanish army and “La Batalla de Tampico (The Battle of Tampico)” in 1863 were Mexicans fought against the French army, giving its name of “Heroico Puerto de Tampico (Heroic Port of Tampico)". It is also the place where the commercial aviation started in Mexico with the first flight to Mexico City in 1921.
Left: Panoramic view of Plaza de Armas with the Cathedral of Tampico at the back; Right: View of the kiosk of Plaza de Armas from the City Hall of Tampico
Its historical downtown is named by the INAH as “Heritage Area of Historic and Artistic Monuments” due of its French neoclassical architecture. Because of this, Tampico is known as “the New Orleans of Mexico”. Its ancient maritime customs building, both of its squares, “Plaza de la Libertad (Liberty Square)” and “Plaza de Armas (we can translate it as Weapons Square)”, its cathedral and its surroundings are the places that you have to visit in the downtown area. The “Laguna del Carpintero (Carpenter’s Lagoon)”, in the middle of the city, is known for its crocodiles, although you can find them in other lagoons of the area. This lagoon connects to the Pánuco river through a canal in the downtown area.
Panoramic view of Plaza de la Libertad
Ciudad Madero was founded in 1924 by the name of “Villa Cecilia (Cecilia Village)” and until 1939 it oficial became a city. Its name was given in memory of the General Francisco I. Madero, a personality of the Mexican Revolution. It is an oil city, known mainly because of its beach, Miramar, and its “escolleras (breakwater)”, built to protect the entrance of the Pánuco river. It you walk by them, you’ll have the sea on one side and the river on the other, you’ll simply fall in love with this place. And maybe, you’ll get to see the “toninas”, a kind of dolphin, playing in the river.
Upper left: Miramar and the breakwater at the back; Upper right: Miramar during a storm; Bottom left: View from the breakwater to the beach with people fishing; Bottom right: View from the breakwater with the sea on the left and the river on the right
It’s hard to identify one city from the other, their territorial limits are divided only by streets, and it is also hard to talk about a unique gastronomy for each of them. The Huastec cuisine, like bocoles, migadas and zacahuil, tortas de la barda (a kind of baguette, although people from here wouldn’t dare to call it a baguette) and seafood, like its crabs, are some of the typical and exquisite dishes from the region. You will gain some weight and you’ll want to come back and eat more.
Tampico, Ciudad Madero and Altamira, three cities with amazing battle stories, of important beginnings of the country and with a great antique Huastec culture. Call us Huastecs, Tampiqueños or Jaibos (Crabs), Maderenses, Altamirenses or Northerns, we will always be proud of our origins.