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Colorful, old Cartagena highlights Spanish colonialism

San Felipe de Barajas Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the old city of Cartagena; it's the most formidable defensive complex of Spanish military architecture

San Felipe de Barajas Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the old city of Cartagena; it's the most formidable defensive complex of Spanish military architecture

Cartagena was founded in 1533 and by 1540 was the main port for trade between Spain and its overseas empire; it was named for Cartagena, Spain which was named after Carthage, Tunisia

Cartagena was founded in 1533 and by 1540 was the main port for trade between Spain and its overseas empire; it was named for Cartagena, Spain which was named after Carthage, Tunisia

Outside of the Modern Art Museum were more than a dozen small pieces depicting typical Colombians; artwork helped compensate for the lack of green space

Outside of the Modern Art Museum were more than a dozen small pieces depicting typical Colombians; artwork helped compensate for the lack of green space

On left, Iglesia San Pedro Claver; Claver was the first person to be canonized in the New World; he is remembered for his compassion towards newly arrived slaves from Africa

On left, Iglesia San Pedro Claver; Claver was the first person to be canonized in the New World; he is remembered for his compassion towards newly arrived slaves from Africa

The dress mirrors the colors of the Colombian flag; these ladies sold fresh fruit on the streets that they would cut in front of you

The dress mirrors the colors of the Colombian flag; these ladies sold fresh fruit on the streets that they would cut in front of you

The Puerta del Reloj was the original entrance to the fortified city; this gate was constructed in 1704 with the clock tower being added in 1874

The Puerta del Reloj was the original entrance to the fortified city; this gate was constructed in 1704 with the clock tower being added in 1874

Life imitating art; everyone was appreciative that I kept my clothes on!

Life imitating art; everyone was appreciative that I kept my clothes on!

Heredia Theater (1911) was named for the founder of the city and was modeled after a theater in Havana; it has a beautiful interior and continues to be a cultural center for the neighborhood

Heredia Theater (1911) was named for the founder of the city and was modeled after a theater in Havana; it has a beautiful interior and continues to be a cultural center for the neighborhood

Old city walls built mainly in the 17th and 18th centuries; today, a walk along the top of the walls is the quintessential Cartagena experience

Old city walls built mainly in the 17th and 18th centuries; today, a walk along the top of the walls is the quintessential Cartagena experience

San Felipe de Barajas Castle was the largest Spanish fort in the New World; the detailed audioguide provides more information than you probably want on the fort

San Felipe de Barajas Castle was the largest Spanish fort in the New World; the detailed audioguide provides more information than you probably want on the fort

Bocagrande is the most exclusive suburb of Cartagena with expensive hotels and upscale apartments; it sits on a narrow peninsula with only one road in and out

Bocagrande is the most exclusive suburb of Cartagena with expensive hotels and upscale apartments; it sits on a narrow peninsula with only one road in and out

My first visit to Colombia; San Felipe de Barajas fell into disrepair after independence in 1821 but preservation efforts took over in 1928

My first visit to Colombia; San Felipe de Barajas fell into disrepair after independence in 1821 but preservation efforts took over in 1928

The Colombian currency is the peso with the current exchange rate roughly 2850 pesos for 1 USD; electricity in Colombia runs at 110 volts so no converters are needed

The Colombian currency is the peso with the current exchange rate roughly 2850 pesos for 1 USD; electricity in Colombia runs at 110 volts so no converters are needed

Cartagena today has a population of almost one million; Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is set in an unnamed city modeled after Cartagena

Cartagena today has a population of almost one million; Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is set in an unnamed city modeled after Cartagena

Simon Bolivar bestowed the title Heroic City on Cartagena in 1821 after troops defeated the Spanish to win the city its independence; Bolivar spent 18 days here in July 1827

Simon Bolivar bestowed the title Heroic City on Cartagena in 1821 after troops defeated the Spanish to win the city its independence; Bolivar spent 18 days here in July 1827

I didn't expect Cartagena to have such a modern skyline; in outlying areas new buildings often are right next to dilapidated houses with trash everywhere

I didn't expect Cartagena to have such a modern skyline; in outlying areas new buildings often are right next to dilapidated houses with trash everywhere

Castillo de San Felipe influenced future Spanish forts such as Castillo San Cristobal in Old San Juan which was started 100 years later

Castillo de San Felipe influenced future Spanish forts such as Castillo San Cristobal in Old San Juan which was started 100 years later

Modern architecture; on the right side of the hill is Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria Convent which Pope John Paul II visited in 1986

Modern architecture; on the right side of the hill is Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria Convent which Pope John Paul II visited in 1986

Iglesia Santo Toribio was built in the early 18th century and was one of the last colonial buildings constructed here; it houses the only Baroque altarpiece in the city

Iglesia Santo Toribio was built in the early 18th century and was one of the last colonial buildings constructed here; it houses the only Baroque altarpiece in the city

Our hotel in Cartagena was conveniently located in the heart of the old city; occasionally mule-drawn carts would clatter down the street

Our hotel in Cartagena was conveniently located in the heart of the old city; occasionally mule-drawn carts would clatter down the street

Gabriel Garcia Marquez statue in Convent of Our Lady of Mercy courtyard; Garcia Marquez won the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature

Gabriel Garcia Marquez statue in Convent of Our Lady of Mercy courtyard; Garcia Marquez won the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature

Cartagena uses a submarine emissary (third largest in the world) to discharge its wastewater directly to the sea; it has resulted in a cleaner bay but still doesn't sound very appealing to a swimmer

Cartagena uses a submarine emissary (third largest in the world) to discharge its wastewater directly to the sea; it has resulted in a cleaner bay but still doesn't sound very appealing to a swimmer

The geometry used at San Felipe de Barajas Castle was 50 years ahead of that used in Europe; the castle was truly impregnable and was never taken by the enemy despite numerous attempts

The geometry used at San Felipe de Barajas Castle was 50 years ahead of that used in Europe; the castle was truly impregnable and was never taken by the enemy despite numerous attempts

Military engineers continued to expand San Felipe de Barajas Castle until the late 1700s; the strategic site is on a hill 41 meters above sea level

Military engineers continued to expand San Felipe de Barajas Castle until the late 1700s; the strategic site is on a hill 41 meters above sea level

Iglesia Santo Domingo (1551) is the oldest church in Cartagena; the city lies 2 hours to the west of the larger city of Barranquilla

Iglesia Santo Domingo (1551) is the oldest church in Cartagena; the city lies 2 hours to the west of the larger city of Barranquilla

Palacio de la Inquisition; this 18th century building is one of the finest examples of colonial architecture in the city; the most common punishable crime was witchcraft

Palacio de la Inquisition; this 18th century building is one of the finest examples of colonial architecture in the city; the most common punishable crime was witchcraft

San Felipe de Barajas Castle was named for King Philip IV of Spain and the ancestors of the Spanish Governor Pedro Zapata, the Counts of Barajas

San Felipe de Barajas Castle was named for King Philip IV of Spain and the ancestors of the Spanish Governor Pedro Zapata, the Counts of Barajas

The Battle of Cartagena was fought in 1741 when Britain sent 23,000 men and 200 ships to take the city; the Spanish had only 6 ships and 3000 soldiers at the Castillo de San Felipe but repelled the Brits

The Battle of Cartagena was fought in 1741 when Britain sent 23,000 men and 200 ships to take the city; the Spanish had only 6 ships and 3000 soldiers at the Castillo de San Felipe but repelled the Brits

Cartagena, along with Veracruz, Mexico, were the two ports where Spain brought slaves from Africa to be sold; auctions for slaves were held in this square

Cartagena, along with Veracruz, Mexico, were the two ports where Spain brought slaves from Africa to be sold; auctions for slaves were held in this square

16th century Catedral de Santa Catalina de Alejandria doubled as a fortress; it was attacked by Sir Francis Drake in 1586

16th century Catedral de Santa Catalina de Alejandria doubled as a fortress; it was attacked by Sir Francis Drake in 1586

Actors were outside Iglesia San Pedro Claver filming a production; Claver personally baptized more then 300,000 people, many of them slaves; he's the patron saint of slaves and of Colombia

Actors were outside Iglesia San Pedro Claver filming a production; Claver personally baptized more then 300,000 people, many of them slaves; he's the patron saint of slaves and of Colombia

Despite being in South America, Cartagena lies north of Panama City, Panama; we changed planes in Panama City which has a large, modern airport where Copa Airlines is based

Despite being in South America, Cartagena lies north of Panama City, Panama; we changed planes in Panama City which has a large, modern airport where Copa Airlines is based

San Felipe de Barajas Castle is striking for its grand entrance and complex maze of tunnels; wonder if the street in Houston is named after the same person

San Felipe de Barajas Castle is striking for its grand entrance and complex maze of tunnels; wonder if the street in Houston is named after the same person

Temperatures vary little in Cartagena during the year; average highs of 88 degrees and lows of 76 degrees regardless of month; rain is rare in winter but common in May-June and October-November

Temperatures vary little in Cartagena during the year; average highs of 88 degrees and lows of 76 degrees regardless of month; rain is rare in winter but common in May-June and October-November

Plaza de la Aduana is the largest and oldest square in the old city; it was used as a parade ground in colonial times

Plaza de la Aduana is the largest and oldest square in the old city; it was used as a parade ground in colonial times

The historic city is surrounded by 11 kilometers of defensive walls built starting in 1586; the walls were complemented by fortresses making the city impenetrable

The historic city is surrounded by 11 kilometers of defensive walls built starting in 1586; the walls were complemented by fortresses making the city impenetrable

Late 18th century Las Bovedas are attached to the city walls; they were built as dungeons but now house tourist shops and boutiques;

Late 18th century Las Bovedas are attached to the city walls; they were built as dungeons but now house tourist shops and boutiques;

Posted by VagabondCowboy 06:31

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