Cartagena is a port city with over 200.000 inhabitants located about an hour's drive in a southerly direction from Torrevieja. With its large modern docks, yards, an arsenal and a torpedo factory, the port is the most important naval port in Spain. But besides being a port city, Cartagena is also a cultural attraction with a lively city center, great art deco buildings and historic monuments.
Cartagena was founded in the 3rd century BC by an army commander from Carthage and played an important role in the Roman Empire. There is a very wide range of buildings and remains from antiquity, with the Roman theater as absolute highlight.
Every culture has left its mark, ranging from the Roman amphitheater to churches and the 18th-century wall that still embraces the old town and the castle of La Concepcion.
The easiest way to explore Cartagena is on foot. The footpaths along the wall and the harbor are very wide and the streets are pleasant to stroll through.
You can usually park your car fairly easily at one of these places, Plaza de Toros, Calle Dr. Fleming, Calle Adarve de Artilleria, Calle Pez or Calle Muralla del Mar. These streets are close together and you can usually find a place here.
We started our visit with Plaza de Toros, the works of which started in 1853. It was built above the ruins of the ancient Roman Amphitheater. Parallel to the sea you can walk along the sea wall or Muralla del Mar, which was built for the Spanish King Charles III. The wall runs along the harbor and protects the old city center. The port was designated by Admiral Nelson as one of the safest ports in the Mediterranean.
Along the harbor is Plaza de los Heroes de Cavite. The monument to the heroes of Cavite and Santiago de Cuba (1923) was erected in honor of the Spanish sailors who died in 1898 during the wars in Cuba and the Philippines.
We left the port and went into the city. Via Plaza Ayuntamiento with the Palacio Consistorial we entered Calle Mayor. This is the main street of the city where the modernist architectural style can be found in every portal and facade. The most important buildings here are La Casa Cervantes, La Casa Llagostera and the Casino, an important meeting point in the city. La Casa Cervantes is a modernist house built by Victor Beltri in 1900. The work on the Casa Cervantes made such a good impression that the architect received the Job Alluvium award from the Cartagenian bourgeoisie. The building is now owned by the Caja Mediterraneo, which has housed its auditorium and library.
La casa Llagostera is owned by the family of Catalan traders, named Llagostera and specialized in the textile industry. They belonged to the highest merchant class of the 20th century. It is a three-storey building whose ground floor was dedicated to the family business. The facade contained a lot of ceramic decoration.
The casino dates from the 18th century and first served as the palace of the Marques de Casa Tilly. The palace was abandoned in 1808 after the murder of her husband General Francisco de Borja. Inside, the original structure of the palace can still be seen in the distribution of the building around a courtyard and the imperial staircase on one side.
Time to visit the most important building in Cartagena, the Teatro Romano. This theater was discovered in 1987 and together with the Roman Theater of Merida is considered the most important in Spain. Next to the Teatro Romana is the old cathedral, the Catedral Vieja, the oldest prayer house in the city. The exact age is not known. Everything indicates that the cathedral was built somewhere halfway the 12th century.
The Castillo de la Conception can be reached via the Parque Torres or via the normal road or by elevator.
Casa De La Fortuna is a Roman villa with decorative murals and objects that depict family life in the 1st century BC.
La Muralla Punica is a building of glass and wood that houses the remains of the Punic Wall. Inside is a glass see-through floor and you have access to the crypt and the tombs in the rock walls
Cartagena is also the "home" of the famous Spanish drink 43 (licor Cuarenta y tres).
kind of trip :
* Torrevieja : 58 km, 49 minutes
* Guardamar : 68 km, 59 minutes
* La Marina : 76 km, 66 minutes