Cruise ships regularly call at the Spanish port city of Cartagena on the Costa Cálida. 43.000 people live in the center and 215.000 in the urban region. This makes Cartagena the second largest city in the autonomous region of Murcia.
Access to Cartagena's cruise terminal
Cartagena - big city on the Costa Cálida
Protected by five hills, Cartagena is one of Spain's most important commercial ports and the country's largest naval base in the Mediterranean. Cartagena is also an episcopal city, university location and seat of the Asamblea Regional, the parliament of the Murcia region.
Celebrity Reflection at Cartagena's cruise terminal
Cartagena's checkered history
Apart from the Neanderthals, who allegedly lived in the caves in what is now the urban area almost 50.000 years ago, Cartagena has a city history of 2.500 to 3.000 years. The first settlers belonged to the Iberian ethnic group. Later, in the 3rd century BC, Carthaginians built the natural harbor into a naval and military base. In 209 BC, the region fell to the Romans, who then exploited the abundant silver and ore reserves.
Cartagena - Roman Forum
The Romans gave the city the name Carthago Nova (the New Carthage). The current name is derived from this. The city owes the Romans important historical buildings and facilities from pre-Christian times, such as the Roman Theater and the Roman Forum. But that's not all: Among the remains of the old bullring, parts of another Roman amphitheater from the 1st century AD were found. The area is currently being excavated and developed.
Cartagena - Old Bullring
The Romans were followed by the Goths, Moors and Spaniards. For a short time the French and British ruled Cartagena.
Cartagena in modern times
The city last experienced its heyday in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. During this time, remarkable buildings of the Spanish Art Nouveau, the Modernisme were built, which still characterize the cityscape, especially in the Calle Mayor. A tour through Cartagena's tourist center reveals an extremely well-kept, attractive city to the visitor.
Cartagena - Art Nouveau facades of Calle Mayor
Cartagena for crusaders
Like many other Spanish port cities, Cartagena is a worthwhile travel destination. The city presents itself to its visitors in the center as an orderly and extremely well-kept community, which offers attractions from different periods. Before the outbreak of the Spanish economic and financial crisis, significant financial resources were invested in redesigning the cityscape. That was money well spent, it seems. Cartagena is a recommendable cruise destination.
The Cartagena cruise terminal
The small cruise terminal is located next to the Royal Yacht Club within walking distance of the city center. In our post Cartagena / Spain - sights let's describe what there is to see in the center.
Update December 2020