A Cartagena Fort, Castle, and Bastion

The Walled City is a giant fort in and of itself.  The construction of the Walls of Cartagena lasted nearly two centuries, ending in 1796. The historic center is complemented by fortifications and bastions, where you can watch sunsets.  The Walled City being the largest Cartagena Fort.

In addition to the 7 miles of stone walls that make up the Walled City, you can also visit other forts.  Matt and I had fun exploring several of them.

One of the largest structures built in Columbia is Castillo San Felipe de Barajas which is a World Heritage Site.  San Felipe de Barajas castle was the only access to the city from the mainland.  Not sure if a castle constitutes a Cartagena Fort, but just go with it.

We arrived at the Walled City just as a tourist bus unloaded its passengers.  Drat!  We bought our 15,000 peso tickets and scurried up the hill to get in front of the crowds.  Most of the people were not the “scurrying” type so we had some time to explore on our own.  This was a very large castle.  It just kept going and going and going.  We were able to stand on the walls, check out the bastions, and go on a quest underground.  They opened up several underground tunnels where we believed the soldiers slept.  We were not sure as we did not buy headphones or go on an official tour.

Images: Matt inside a bastion, me next to one, shot between the walls. Matt in a tunnel, fort walls with modern city in back.

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. Cartagena Fort.

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas

Images: Fort entrance, me with a pretty view, me locked up, sleeping quarters, and wall exterior.

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. Cartagena Fort

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas

As we were coming out of one of the tunnels, a tour group was at the entrance. The guide was showing how they built the tunnels in such a way to always protect them from intruders.  He joked, in English, that we were pirates so when we came out, I said “Argh, give me all of your money” which garnered muzzled laughs.

On the far end of the Walled City, we discovered a construction zone.  They are building an huge entertainment area.  New restaurants, bars, shops, and an enormous round outdoor theater are being built.  I sure wish we could see this completed – what a hoot it would be to see a play here!

Cartagena Fort. Round Theater

Round theater being built above and image of completed project below.

The Baluarte El Reducto is part of the walls of the Historic Center of Cartagena.  It is a fortification bastion facing the lagoon of San Lazaro.  It was the first work of fortification enclosure built as a result of the enlargement of the city.  On top of the fort is Casa Cerveza, a restaurant that has a beautiful view and a great name!  Who wouldn’t want to live in a Beer House?  (Casa Cerveza=Beer House)

View from Casa Cerveza.

View from Casa Cerveza.

EL fuerte de San Sebastian del Pastelillo is where Club de Pesca is located which is one of the 5 marinas in Cartagena.  Even though there is not much left of the fort, it makes for an impressive entrance to the marina.  I can imagine you’d feel safe keeping your boat within Cartagena Fort waters.

Fuerte Sansebastian

We visited several bastions:

  • Baluarte Santa Catalina
  • Baluarte San Pedro Martir
  • Convento de San Diego

Walking around town we found this cool world map

World Map - where are we?

World Map – where are we?

End to a perfect day – Matt and Teo

Matt and Teo walking and talking.

Matt and Teo walking and talking. Photo credit: Jon Wright

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