Within the most important fortifications of "La Heroíca", the Walls of Cartagena are the most recognized. It was a project that lasted nearly two centuries and ended in 1796 with the aim of defending the city from the continuous pirate attacks that it suffered. The historical center is surrounded by 11 km of these imposing stone walls that are complemented by fortifications and bastions, from which you can watch wonderful sunsets over the Colombian Caribbean.
History of the Walls of Cartagena
It was built at the end of the XVI century for the defence of the city. Its construction began on September 8 of 1614, after the attack of the legendary Sir Francis Drake and by order of King Philip III. The Italian architect, Carlos de Roda Antonelli, was responsible for the first stage of construction, which took 15 years, in which 15 bastions were built with clear influence of the Italian style. Later, in 1608, Cristóbal de Roda was commissioned to fortify almost the entire part of the city that faces the open sea.
While this fortress was being built, the city was constantly invaded by pirates. Therefore, the defense was complemented with the imposing Castle of San Felipe, and a set of underwater breakwaters located on the island of Tierrabomba.
Since 1631, Francisco de Murga fortified the entire neighborhood that today captivates travelers from all over the world, the Gethsemane neighborhood. Furthermore, later on, underwater caissons were built, forming a breakwater in front of the walls destroyed by the sea and on the route between Punta Icacos and Tierrabomba by Antonio de Arévalo, to prevent the passage of ships through Boca Grande.
It took 200 years, two centuries for this majestic military structure to be completed. Already in 1796, the walls that protect the Historical Center of Cartagena, which since the foundation of Cartagena de Indias in 1533, and during all the Spanish colonial period, was one of the most important ports of America, would be finished. Well, its bay was protected by the Spanish military, the forts and walls, and its proximity to Panama City, another important Spanish port, made it a key fortress.
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The Walls: UNESCO World Heritage Site
It is the most preserved and complete fortification in South America, and one of the best walled cities in the world. It runs along the 11 kilometers of the walled cordon, one of the most important attractions of Cartagena, declared a World Cultural Heritage Site, an invaluable treasure that has not only resisted the attacks of invaders, time and nature.
Built to keep enemies away, today the Walls are a symbol of Cartagena, inviting travelers to enter a city full of history and unique details.
How old are the walls of Cartagena?
By the year 2020 the preserved Walls of Cartagena will be 406 years old. These walls have witnessed various struggles and the evolution of Cartagena, which is recognized as the "Heroic". It is a jewel of architecture and military engineering, a very well preserved historical piece, which we can now tour and enjoy when visiting this beautiful Colombian city.
How do you get to the walled city of Cartagena?
The walls of Cartagena de Indias are located in the Historical Center, in the walled city. Which, is a 15 minute drive from Rafael Núñez International Airport, if you are arriving from abroad or another city. If you are arriving from the ground, it is 45 minutes from the Cartagena Transport Terminal. Upon arrival enjoy a tour of the city walls and streets of the walled city and discover the history of the colonial city.
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Eat ceviche in front of the clock, dance champeta and other musical genres in the incredible bars inside and outside Barrio Getsemani, and watch the beautiful sunsets from the Wall.