"From Qart Hadast to Cartagena" Top 5 Page for this destination Cartagena by Aitana

Cartagena Travel Guide: 120 reviews and 450 photos

Con esto, poco a poco llegué al puerto,
al que los de Carthago dieron nombre,
cerrado a todos vientos y encubierto,
a cuyo claro y singular renombre
se postran cuantos puertos el mar baña,
descubre el sol y ha navegado el hombre.


Miguel de Cervantes. Viaje al Parnaso.


Cartagena is a nice coastal city in the southeast of Spain, in the region of Murcia. Along the history it has been an important naval port in Spain due to its strategic location, in a natural port surrounded by hills and an inland sea, which enable the defense of the city. It is still an important naval seaport, the main military haven of Spain, and there is a big naval shipyard.

A visit to Cartagena is like a walk along history. The first view, in front of the Seafront Alfonso XII, is the wall of Carlos III (18th century) which surrounds the city centre.

Carthaginian general Hasdrubal founded Qart Hadast (New City in Punic language) in 227 BC, in the place of the former Mastia, an Iberian settlement. In the second Punic War that confronted Romans and Carthaginians, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus defeated Hannibal and took the city. The Romans named it Carthago Nova.
Romans let there a rich legacy such as the Theater and the Amphitheater, a Roman road (Decumanus), the Colonnade, the Augusteum and a Necropolis. The importance of the city, apart from its privileged position and topography, was its mining richness.
After the fall of the Empire, the Vandals passed through the city and that it was dominated by the Visigoths. In 555 A.D, the Byzantine troops of Justinian took the city and converted it into the capital of the province of Spania. From that time are the remains of the Byzantine rampart. Also many shops were established on the Roman Theater, covering it for centuries.

Visigoths took again the city that remained under their control from 621 until the Arab conquest in 734 A.D. The city was re-conquered in 1245 by Alfonso X The Wise. In the 16th century there was a general economic and political resurgence. Under the rule of Felipe II, it was a major naval seaport of Spain.
In 1728 Cartagena was named as the capital of the Mediterranean Maritime Department and thus it recovered its former importance. The city was fortified and the city´s Arsenal, castles and the barracks were built. The merchant activity also increased and the population grew from 10.000 to 50.000.
The mining activities stimulated the industrial and economic activities. After the Cantonal Revolution in 1873, Cartagena acquired its current appearance as a result of the construction of numerous public and private buildings following the eclectic and modernist tendencies of the age.

  • Last visit to Cartagena: Jan 2009
  • Intro Updated Jan 28, 2009
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Reviews (9)

Comments (2)

  • ranger49's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2009 at 10:02 AM

    Clearly many developments since my visit in February 2000! Thanks for the update - glad to see the progress on the roman remains. We visited on a Sunday so it was quiet and I was impressed by the architecture you describe in your Tips.

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Jul 3, 2009 at 8:45 PM

    A fascinating cultural page on Cartagena. I can see that since my 2003 visit, a lot has been done, especially around the ancient Roman amphitheater. I am eager to pay another visit to Cartagena.

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