Street Scenes Of Cartagena’s Historic Walled City

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CARTAGENA | The walled historic centre of Cartagena is a beautiful area to explore. It’s full of narrow streets filled with colonial architecture, colour and lush greenery, with an undeniable Caribbean vibe. At dusk, it takes on an almost magical hue, which further enhances its old world charm.

Modern day Cartagena, or Cartagena de Indias to be precise, was founded by Spanish conquistador Pedro de Heredia in 1533. During the Colonial era, which ran from 1533–1717, the city was an important naval trade hub, and key arrival point for African slaves. It was subject to may attacks over the years, which led to a fortified wall being built in 1635. This wall, which was rebuilt and fortified over the years, stands today and forms the border of Centro Historico.

The old town is UNESCO Heritage Listed, and consists of two neighbourhoods – Centro Historico and San Diego. It’s very compact easy to explore on foot. It features public square like Plaza del Reloj, grand colonial churches such as Iglesia de San Pedro Claver and plenty of cultural spots like the Gold Museum and Modern Art Museum, which is housed in a beautiful old 17th-century former customs house.

Much of the charm of the old town lies in its architecture and its cobble stone streets. The old colonial shop houses and mansions, many of which feature balconies looking down onto the street below, are painted in an assortment of colours and are a joy to see. Keep an eye out for the elaborate door knockers that grace many of the building’s doors – they’ve got quite the story to tell.

Beyond cultural institutions you’ll find plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants inside these old buildings. Whether it’s high end, contemporary Colombian food at Carmen, fresh seafood at La Cevicheria, great food and live music at Juan Del Mar, cocktails at El Barón, or coffee at Epoca, you’ll be able to find what you fancy in this part of town.

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