We have posted about Cartagena several times—it’s not only one of the most popular cities to visit in Colombia but also one of the most historic cities to visit. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cartagena was officially founded as a city in 1533 by the Spaniard Pedro Heredia and to this day continues to be an important Colombian city both in terms of tourism as well as historical value and importance. Today, we want to mention a few of the historic sites found in Cartagena.
Perhaps the most well-known historical site in Cartagena is that of the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, the Castle/Fortress of San Felipe de Barajas. A military fortress, the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is the most important defence structure built by the Spanish in the New World. It is practically impenetrable and has withstood attacks from English and French invaders as well as the test of time. Currently a touristic site, the castle has also served as the site of international events at different times in recent history.
Another historical site worth mentioning is the Convento de la Popa, the Convent of the Stern, named by the Spanish in the 16th century for the shape of the hill on which this convent is located. Seated atop the highest point of the city, the Convento de la Popa offers you the chance to visit a 15th century convent and enjoy astonishing views of the city.
The Convento and Iglesia de San Pedro Claver, the San Pedro Church and Convent, namesakes of San Pedro Claver, make up another religious site well worth a visit. San Pedro Claver was an influential and famous Jesuit in Cartagena who worked diligently and passionately with slaves—so much so that he was named the Patron Saint of Slaves by the Catholic Church. The Iglesia de San Pedro Claver holds the remains of San Pedro Claver and has been named a national monument in Colombia. It is an exemplary example of colonial church architecture and easily located in the Walled City historic district of Cartagena.
Yet another religious site worth exploring, the Iglesia Santo Domingo, the Church of Santo Domingo, dates back to the 16th century and until the 19th century was home to Dominican monks. Today, you can admire the impressive church building that serves as a fine arts center in the historic walled city area of the city.
Remnant of the Spanish Inquisition in Latin America, the Palacio de la Inquisición (the Inquisition Palace) is another site full of history in Cartagena, albeit a dark history. Inaugurated in the 17th century, the Palacio de la Inquisición served as a prison and torture site for those souls that had committed sins against the church or were found with religious fault until the 19th century when Spain lost her colonies in the New World. Today, you can tour the site, learning about the site’s history, taking in the architecture, and observing torture objects and instruments once used on the premises.
Get out and soak up some history!
The Uncover Colombia Team