Cartagena – a geography/history lesson

Cartagena (pronounced Carta xena) allegedly, but I still haven’t worked out how the x sounds!

In south east Spain in the region of Murcia, it’s Spain’s chief Mediterranean naval base and the harbour is a deep bay dominated by four hills crowned with forts.

The city was founded in the 3rd century BCE and was of particular importance due to its proximity to silver mines.

It was from Cartagena in 223 BCE that the Carthaginian general, Hannibal, marched his invading army into Iberia and later set off with his elephants over the Alps to conquer Rome.

Cartagena has seen some rough times historically:

It was captured in 209 BCE, pillaged by the Goths in 425 AD, became an independent principality under the Moors which was then destroyed in 1243.

Restored by the Moors it was finally conquered in 1245 by Alfonso the wise, who reestablished Christianity.

It was also the Repblican naval base during the Spanish Civil War.

It’s history is much more extensive than that but google it if you’re interested.

As a consequence the city still bears evidence of the various elements of civilisation and parts of the roman occupation still exist, as does parts of the old city wall.

Cartagena has about 220,000 inhabitants, and exports some olive oil, dried fruits and minerals. As a naval base it has an arsenal and extensive dockyards.

There is absolutely loads to do here, over 12 museums, 10 buildings of interest and 4 noteworthy churches.  There’s roman ruins and Art Deco architecture and as seems to be the case in all the parts of Spain we’ve seen so far lots and lots of statues.

We’ve already witnessed the Carthaginian and Roman festival, next month is National Spain Day, and in November there’s a Jazz festival.  So lots to keep anyone occupied and interested.

So here ends this tourist information section courtesy of Kuta Of Carrick, and of course most importantly is the climate, it is the warmest city in Europe!

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