Cartegena Travel Guide
Cartagena is one of the world’s oldest cities and at one point, it was also considered as one of the richest cities of the ancient world. This very old town is to be found in the central segment of the Costa Calida, and is inhabited by around 180,000 Carthaginensis. For the longest time, this city has focused on being a major seaport and is therefore just beginning to boost its tourism industry.
Though it is not a conventional tourist attraction, perhaps one of the interesting sights to see in this city is its very busy harbor. Some usual things you will see are the vast nets on the wharf, the different vessels of fishermen, and of course, the loads of fish caught fresh off the sea. After witnessing such dynamic activities in the quayside, it will now be clear in your mind where Cartagena gets its supply of fresh sea creatures that are served in the city’s hundreds of restaurants and abodes.
Witness the streets of Cartagena come alive when the locals celebrate the Holy Week (La Semana Santa) or Easter by having magnificent processions and putting the whole town in carnival mode for a whole week. Another event to be anticipated is the Cartagineses Y Romanos whereby the locals simulate the historical battles between the Carthaginians and Romans by dressing in spectacular costumes and building a whole camp that looks like the Old Cartagena that goes back centuries ago.
There are several remarkable parks and plazas in the city of Cartagena, hence taking leisurely walks will definitely not be a bore. There are also museums to tell you more about the dramatic times that Cartagena has been through in the centuries that have passed. The city of Cartagena is also rich with restaurants and cafés to give you a taste of the local culinary specialties. Cartagena is, without doubt, a pleasant destination to head for at any time of the year.
As its name suggests, the primeval city of Cartagena was founded by the Carthaginians in the year 227 BC. This enclave has been a significant commercial and marine harbor of Spain for as long as history can remember. The township was formerly called Cartago Nova (new Carthage), and is almost synonymous to Hannibal Barca, the renowned General of Carthage (today a suburb of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia) who crossed the Alps with his elephants to fight the Romans during the second Punic War. The term “Punic Wars” refers to the chain of wars between Rome and Carthage during the third and second centuries BC. Hannibal Barca would spend the next years of his life spearheading battles, all in the name of conquering southeastern Spain in the 220s BCE.
After many years of war efforts, Hannibal was overpowered by the Romans, and the defeat led him to lose control of Spain. Naturally, the Carthaginians were barred from Spain in 206 BC and Cartagena was therefore colonized by the Romans. The political turnover to the Romans gave birth to several progressions to an already great city, with developments like thoroughfares, bridges, and other infrastructures proliferating throughout the city. Considering the fact that Cartagena has undergone numerous unrest even to the point of destruction, the Roman empire had in turn brought harmony and opulence to the city for several centuries.
Eventually, the Roman kingdom also met its fall. The authority was then handed over to the Visigoths, a rough German tribe and a division of the Goths. Nonetheless, the Visigoth kingdom in Cartagena was thinned out due to the constant disagreements amongst the nobles. This led to the triumph of the Moors (Arabs) when they arrived to take control of Cartagena and other parts of Spain in the year 711. Then, civil conflict rose during the 11th century, and the Moorish Emir was dethroned by resident Spaniards, paving the way for a sovereign territory, including the modern provinces of Alicante and Almeria.
In the year 1243, Cartagena and its neighboring provinces were fought for and taken by King Alfonso X of Castille and Leon. This leadership transition made Murcia the provincial capital, and remains as so today.
Cartagena has always kept its importance as the official nautical center of operations for Spain. Over the centuries, it has also remained as a major trading harbor for the country, along with the 20th century rival ports of Barcelona, Valencia and Malaga.
Nowadays, the city of Cartagena is more than just a chief seaport. Its colorful history alone, made evident by its outstanding edifices, will surely offer tourists a host of interesting places to visit. Moreover, industrial progress is visibly manifest in this beautiful city.
Playa Punta Brava (Punta Brava Beach)
Playa Punta Brava is a big beach of Cartagena and always tourist stricken especially during the summer and weekends. This fine sand beach measures over a thousand meters and is easily accessible from the N-332 coastal road. Facilities include parking space, toilets, showers, restaurants, Red Cross, regular police and life guard patrols, and water sports.
Playa Los Urrutias / Los Urrutias Beach
Playa Los Urrutias is a kilometer long coast of beautiful, golden sand, situated on the edge of Cartagena. This beach is a recommended coastline to come visit due to its cleanliness and amenities. Facilities include water sports, ramps and provision for people with disabilities, toilets, showers, public telephones, life guards, and regular police patrols.
Playa Los Nietos / Los Nietos Beach
Two kilometers of fine dark sand is what Playa Los Nietos is made of. This is another popular Cartagena beach that can really get hectic during the summer months. Facilities include water sports, ramps and provision for people with disabilities, parking, Red Cross, restaurants, toilets, showers, life guards, and regular police patrols.