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Cartagena, the fortified city
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2014-11-15 17:26:12 | Cartagena, Bolivar, Colombia
Keywords: fortifications, UNESCO
The city of Cartagena was founded in 1533 and rapidly became an important port to transport the found riches of the New World to the Old One. That strategic mission also made her the target for many pirates throughout the centuries. To defend herself against those pirates, Cartagena transformed itself into a huge fortress with a huge wall protection. These fortifications were built over a period of 200 years.

Cartagena was one of the most important ports of the Caribbean on the route to Spain, doubling as a major military outpost. Throughout the history of the building of the fortifications all the newest technologies and strategies were implemented. The wall is a massive thick structure in which there were rooms to store the munitions and house the soldiers.


Part of the top of the wall where we can walk.


Most of the original wall around the old city is still there. Only a few minor segments were destroyed (mostly by a careless local administration in mid-20th century). The most interesting part is that you can actually walk (or bike) on most of the remnants of the wall! I walked all I could touring the protected city and having almost birds-eye view of the magnificent architecture of the buildings. Cartagena is not the first fortified walled city wall I visit (and I lived near one), but it's unique because of the structure of its wall and its incredible preservation.

Although some openings were done in the wall to let modern streets go through, the openings were often made with arches to preserve the overall wall structure. The inner city is opened to traffic but besides a few more important streets, the vehicles are mostly for local deliveries and taxis shuttling tourists in and out of hotels.

I loved the architecture inside the city, which is mostly nice houses with balconies. There are a few more modern buildings but their architecture is inspired by the original one without copying it totally, you can still distinguish the old from the new (unlike the case of Morelia, in Mexico).

The site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1984, because of its obvious historic importance. Although it's been turned into a giant souvenir shop by dozens of street vendors, it still has lots of charm and it's a must to visit in my opinion.

Angle view of the fortifications, on the land side.

Related posts:
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Modern Ensemble of Pampulha
Cuenca
Isla de la plata
San Agustin site

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