Gutsy Gladiators and Spanish Bulls or the History of Cartagena

Just off the Mediterranean coast, in the Region of Murcia, is the Spanish city of Cartagena. In addition to its natural seaport, the ancient city of Cartagena was strategically important to both Carthage and Rome due its close proximity to rich silver mines during that period of time. From Carthaginians, to Romans, to Moors, the Mediterranean city of Cartagena has a very long and colorful history. Visitors entering the city today will find remnants of that glorious past in the form of murals, mosaics, and Roman ruins. Perhaps the most fascinating of all is the Roman theatre of Cartagena which was only uncovered in recent years.

 

The Roman Theatre of Cartagena

The Roman Theatre of Cartagena was built between 5 and 1 B.C., at the times of Gaius and Lucius, the grandsons of Caesar Augustus. In the 3rd century A.D., a market was built over the theatre and then a cathedral in the 12th century. It wasn’t until the 1990s that excavations were begun to restore the site to its former glory.

 

After touring the ancient amplitheatre, my mind kept racing back to those glory days when I lived that life of a daring and dashing gladiator.

 

Big John in his glory days!

 

 

Big John standing at the massive theatre wall, reminiscing back to his Spartacus years.

 

Just recently, archeologists discovered completely intact cages that once housed gladiators and various animals.

Scenes of antiquity from the extraordinary history of Cartagena

 

Rebecca was rather upset when she found out she missed the gladiator show by a few thousand years.

 

I thought I had found the largest door in the city…

 

…but then she just had to go and one up me!

 

The town hall of Cartagena

 

 

Armed with my trusty iPhone camera, I was ready to hit the streets!

These buildings in the barrio were mostly false fronts!

 

Big John tries to flex under the mighty limbs of an old banyan tree.

 

…and there stands my beautiful Spanish flower!

 

I’m not quite sure, but I believe this kid is singing to a fish. I think that may be a warning not to drink the water coming from this fountain!

 

Cartagena has a history of bullfighting that dates back to the 13th Century.  Although the city no longer hosts these events, bullfighting can still be found in other regions of Mercia and Spain.

I never knew there was so much beauty in the streets of Spain!

 

Under a canopy of ancient Roman ruins.

 

Much of Cartagena is still an active archeological site.

 

All of these ancient ruins reminded me of our fascinating trip to the city of Rome.

 

These bronze ladies are sharing spreading good news in the midst of San Sebastian Plaza.

 

 

San Sabastian plaza offers visitors an excellent shopping and dining experience.

 

 

Much of Cartagena’s beautiful architecture seems to be a clash between the Renaissance and modernist flair.

 

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say she had a thing for cops.

 

 

The walled remnants of an ancient fortress perched high on a Cartagena hill.

 

A statue of Hannibal Barca

Hannibal Barca was a general from Ancient Carthage who is widely considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. Much of Hannibal’s fame was gained in heavy combat during the Second Punic War.

 

Rebecca would travel all the way to Cartagena just to eat delicious tapas!

After miles of sightseeing through a city full of fascinating history, Rebecca and I were ready to enjoy one of Cartagena’s greatest treasures – her insanely good Spanish cuisine! Even the ancient Carthaginians knew the importance of throwing a good feast!

I hope our journey through Cartagena inspired you to pack those bags and embark on an adventure all of your own making. Thank you for visiting Big John’s Adventures in Travel and please feel free to explore more of my site.

 

Happy travels,

Big John

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