One Day EXPLORING: CARTAGENA, SPAIN

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Cartagena is a beautiful ancient Mediterranean port city on the southeastern coast of Spain.  It is a natural harbor with hills, mountains, and mines of silver, zinc, and lead.  And as I quickly discovered, there is so much more than tapas, paella, and sangria in Cartagena. 

Although they do have great sangria, they also have an extensive Roman history too.  Yes, Romans in Spain. The last thing I thought I would hear about when I went to Cartagena was the Romans, but what was I thinking.  The Romans tried to take over just about everything in their sights back in their days. 

A BIT OF HISTORY

Prior to the Roman take over, King Charles III was busy trying to protect the city by having Mateo Vodopich design a wall which was built to encircle Cartagena.  This wall ended up being over 3 miles in length and is also known as the Punic Wall, from the Punic Wars between the Romans and Carthaginians. 

Part of the Punic Wall
Punic Wall funerary crypt of the hermitage of San Jose built in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Dances of Death is presented on the walls here on the bottom right side.

This wall is very important in today’s society, since it is one of the last things left from ancient Carthaginians in Spain as some of them are still buried in it. 

THE ROMAN INFLUENCE

Moving on, thirty (30) years after the wall was complete, in the 3 century BC, everything changed when the Venetians came to Cartagena and took over. And of course, Romans, liking their theatrics, built a theater that looked like half of a Coliseum and would hold 7,000 spectators.  But, what’s amazing is the fact that this 2,000 year old Roman Theater was just recently discovered, in 1988, after being buried in the Spanish War. 

Roman Theater discover in 1988

It was discovered under the rumble of a Cathedral when a man started trying to clear it to build a home.   Of course, construction of the home was halted, and the Carthaginians went hard to work renovating it.   This theater is now part of the Cartagena’s historic center that also houses an ancient altar to Jupiter and a statute of Apollo.

LOCAL SIGHTS & INFORMATION

But, if you’re not into history, there are other things for you to do and see too.  You can take a walk down the blue marble tile pedestrian only street of Calle Mayor which is filled with cafes, bars, and shops.  Just a short walk south of there by the harbor, you can also see the statute of El Zulo.  This statute is a tribute to all Victims of Terrorism all over the World.  You can also go see the old town hall in the city center that was built by architect Thomas Rico.  Or, wander until you come across the huge statute of the 1st submarine for Spain.  And, of course, you are going to see bits from the great architect Gaudi as he went to Cartagena and became a local architect there as well.

Street of Calle Mayor

For more photographs of Cartagena, click here or go to Spain under the Destinations tab.

One last bit of information that I thought was interesting was the fact that the subject of Business taught in College in the States, is called Enterprising in Cartagena. It makes perfect sense to me as I used by Business Degree in Enterprising.  And, one last bit of information just in case you want to know, the current currency there is the Euro.

FINAL QUESTION

So, to the final question.  Would I go back to visit this place again?   Sure.  It was clean, inexpensive, and I felt safe there.  And, of course they have good sangria to quench your thirst, after all the additional exploring that is still left to do there!

Lastly, I would LOVE it, if you would leave a comment below. Please let me know if you enjoyed this article. And hopefully, you learned something new from our adventure. Finally, remember to sign up for our mailing list to receive the next article “hot off the press” and free subscriber gifts in the near future.

Thank you for sharing your time with me!

And, Happy Exploring,

Nola

NRP Travel © 2019