Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cartagena, Columbia

I had heard once (a long time ago) that the Disneyland ride, Pirates of the Caribbean, was based on a actual siege of the port city of Cartagena, Colombia. Whether this is true or not, my interest in that place has always been great and the opportunity to finally visit the city was a draw for me on this trip.

The San Felipe Fort sits atop San Lazaro hill near the entrance to the Inner Bay of Cartagena and is the second largest of the Spanish New World forts. Construction of the fortress was begun in 1536, very early in the European history of the New World.

The walls of the fortress with the modern city of Cartagena behind.

Just as in Habana, the walls include many Pleistocene-age fossils.

Fossils were used with artistic flair throughout the walls.

A corner of a bastion.

Modern Cartagena, a city of two million people and the 5th largest in Colombia.

The greatest battle for Cartagena was in 1741 when the English sent Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon with 27,400 men on 186 ships to overtake the city. It almost worked. But the Spanish defenses - of only 2,700-3,000 soldiers - were strong enough to delay the successful landfall of the English such that they were soon overcome with yellow fever after 10 days. An excellent account of the battle can be found here. This map shows how the English sailed down the coast to enter the bay around the south side of the island of Bocagrande. They made landfall here but were delayed and could never attain the Inner Bay.

The next day we toured inside the walled city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This was mostly a colorful and artistic experience.

The narrow streets are typical of the Spanish Colonial Period in the New World.

Buckets of fresh fruit on a Cartagena street.

The fruit is for sale but the main purpose is so visitors can take photos of the buckets balanced on the heads of colorfully-dressed women.

Scrap art depicts a similar scene.

The Spanish established three courts of the Holy Inquisition, one each in Peru, Mexico and Cartagena. This is the façade of the Cartagena court, which is now a museum to tell the story of the Inquisition, but also serves as a monument to modern-day tolerance of other and different beliefs. The contrast made the visit very worthwhile.

A sign inside the entrance says it all. Amen!

Door knobs are a big deal in Cartagena and take on impressive forms.



Simple home.

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