Cartagena is one of the most beautiful cities of South America. The city was formally know as
Cartagena De Indias (Cartagena of Indies) or Cartagena La Heroica (The Heroic) and is nicknamed
The Walled City.
Founded in 1533 by don Pedro de Heredia, and named after the port of Cartagena in Spain's Murcia region, it was a major center of early Spanish settlement in the Americas, and continues to be an economic hub as well as a popular tourist destination.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, Cartagena was part of the Spanish Main*, one of the chief ports of the Spanish treasure fleet and so a prime target by English pirates and French buccaneers (such as Sir Francis Drake, who sacked the city in 1586).
Many of Cartagena's fortifications still stand: the Castle of San Felipe de Barajas,
built between 1536 and 1657; the walls around the Old City (Las Murallas); the undersea wall across
Bocagrande built between 1771 and 1778; and the forts of San Jose and San Fernando, built between 1751 and 1759 at Bocachica.
The majority of the colonial buildings can be found in the Old City, including the Palace of the Inquisition,
a cathedral, the Convent of Santa Clara (now a hotel) and a Jesuit college St. Peter
Claver patron saint of the slaves worked in and from the Jesuit college. Just outside the city
walls, you can see the "India Catalina" statue, a local Indian hero.
To the south of the Murallas is the modern city on the peninsula of Bocagrande. Cartagena is one of Colombia's major seaports as well as the terminus of an oil pipeline.
About 30 km. (20 miles) southeast of Cartagena are the Islas de Rosario (Rosario Islands), a nationally protected park which features an aquarium with trained dolphins and many varieties of tropical fish and sharks.
Attractions of Cartagena
Must See Places in Colombia
*The "Spanish Main" was a name given to the Caribbean coast of the Spanish Empire in mainland Central and South America. From the 16th to the 18th century the Spanish Main was the point of departure for enormous wealth in the form of gold, silver, gems, spices, hardwoods, hides and other treasures. The famous Spanish treasure fleets (La Armada) transported these to Spain. The traffic in treasure made the Spanish Main a haunt of pirates and privateers.