Cartagena is a city in the Autonomous Community of Murcia that has more than 207,000 inhabitants, or Cartageneros. This city has seen some famous Carthaginians born Carmen Conde and her husband Antonio Oliver Belmás or Arturo Pérez Reverte, all of them writers. Another notable Carthaginian in the history of the city was General Hannibal, famous for his expedition to Italy, which crossed the Alps in 218 BC.
The climate of the city is subtropical Mediterranean arid, being one of the most arid zones of the whole peninsula, with maximum rainfall of 300 mm a year. In winter the average temperature is 12ºC and in summer it is 28ºC.
The city celebrates several festivities such as Easter and Carthaginians and Romans, a feast that commemorates the battle of Rome and Carthage.
The city was founded in 227 BC. By General Hasdrubal the Beautiful, but before its arrival the Phoenicians already had founded a town in the same place in century VIII a.C. The Carthaginian name was Qart Hadasth (New Town). It was the main city of the Carthaginians and from here Hannibal left for Italy, an expedition that became famous because it crossed the Alps in the year 218 a.C. In 209 BC. The city was taken by the Roman general Scipio and was given the name Cartago Nova. During the Roman reign was one of the most important Roman cities of Hispania.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city was part of the Byzantine Empire until the Visigoths destroyed it in the second decade of the seventh century.
Under the Arab reign the city recovered but only came to flourish after the Reconquista in 1245. The bishopric of Cartagena was restored and in 1296 the city was part of the Crown of Aragon until 1305 when it was returned to the Kingdom of Murcia. The Middle Age was a time of decadence, from which it slowly came out in the sixteenth century. And its economy improved.
When establishing the dynasty of the Bourbons in century XVIII, this brought new opportunities for the city. It was named the capital of the Maritime Department of the Mediterranean. Numerous military buildings were built, such as the city walls and castles. The city had a botanical garden that was unfortunately destroyed during the War of Independence.
In century XIX took place the cantonal revolution, in which the city rose against the central government in the year 1873 and it resisted to the governmental troops until January of 1874. Also in the Civil War it resisted until the last moment to the pro-Franco troops and was the last city taken by the Francoists.
Now the city remains a fairly important commercial and military port and is also specialized in shipbuilding.
Monuments and museums of Cartagena
The Alcazaba was built by the founder of the city, Ibn Marwan, very soon after the foundation of Cartagena. The exact year we do not know but according to documents the first restoration took place in 913, reason why its construction began between 875 and 913. Later in 1030 was reconstructed again and the following reconstruction was in 1169 and the building that was raised this year is the one we know now. The last restoration was realized at the beginning of century XIII, a few years before the conquest of the city by Alfonso IX.
The Alcazaba is located on a hill 60 meters above sea level and measures 400 by 200 meters. It is completely walled and reinforced with towers that served for the defense of the Alcazaba and the city. Most of these towers are headed south and west, being the most likely sides of an attack.
The Torre del Espantaperros
In the southwest of the Alcanzaba is located the Tower of the Watchtower, better known as “Espantaperros”. It is an octagonal tower of the time almohade that reaches the 30 meters of height. The structure recalls the Tower of Gold in Seville. It is one of the most representative monuments of Cartagena.
Built in the 30’s of this century, the Giralda is a building that was designed by Rodolfo Martinez and Abel Pinna. In the construction they have copied the Giralda of Seville but in small scale. Now it serves as an office for Telefonica, but it is worth going to see it. The people of Cartagena call it La Giraldilla.
The Gate of Palmas
The Puerta de Palmas consists of two circular towers of the sixteenth century that are connected by a double arch. In the past it was part of the network of walls that surrounded Cartagena in the Middle Age. Now it is opposite the Bridge of Palms. In the interior arch is the shield of Carlos V, but the whole Gate is full of inscriptions, shields and busts of Spanish kings. An interesting detail is that the gate was used as a state prison in the early nineteenth century.