Cartagena is a city with more than 2,500 years of history. Each corner, street and square of the city offers travellers monumental examples of its splendorous historical past, of the civilizations that put in at its port.
The Cartagena inititiative, "Port of Cultures", opens up a wide range of possibilities which enable the visitor to enjoy the city's heritage and cultural riches: to find out about its origins by visiting the Punic Walls, evidence of the founding of the city by the Carthaginian Asdrubal in the year 227 B.C., where a Visitor Activity Centre will explain all about that fundamental part of its history and the local archaeology.
Cartagena "Port of Cultures" has developed these riches into a unifying theme in order to make it more accesssible to visitors. Just by strolling around we soon discover that the city also possesses a military history which takes us right back to mediaeval times when the Castle of the Conception was built. It is here where a Visitor Activity Centre offers information about the city and its history in a place which has been chosen for its privileged setting.
This plethora of historical riches is not only a thing of the past: it is still present to this day in the local festivities and celebrations, the most significant of which are the Easter week celebrations and the Romans and Carthaginians festival. During Easter week the military precision of the penitents' marching, the lavish floral decoration of the thrones, and the richness of the costumes and embroidery, along with the never-ending rivalry that exists between the horse riders ("the californios") and their bitter and dangerous enemies (the "marrajos"), are characteristic in this day and age of the Cartagena processions and parades. With regard to the other important "fiesta", the month of September is the time of year in which thousands of Cartagena people dress up as Romans and Carthaginians in order to proudly commemorate the events which took place in the city during the course of the Second Punic War.
The city's festive delights is made complete with the "Mar de Musicas" (Sea of Music) festival, which is a festival of new and world music held during the month of July and which, in spite of its brief history, has achieved a unanimous recognition at both a national and international level.
The visitor will also be able to enjoy the local gastronomy which, in the case of Cartagena, is special in that it is a port, but with the country right nearby. Both fresh and salted fish and seafoods, the very typical "caldero" - a type of fish stew served with rice and garlic - as well as meat and agricultural produce from its fertile inland, all washed down with local wines and accompanied by the traditional drinks of the area such as the asiatico coffee (coffee with condensed milk, cinnamon, lemon and whole coffee beans), which delight the palate of all those who come to find out about its traditional cuisine.
The Cartagena project, "Port of Cultures" is working to increase the city's tourist potential, by making accessibility easier and by enabling people with reduced mobility to enjoy its sightseeing resources to the full: a good example of this is the panoramic elevator which connects the Port with the Castle of the Conception; by improving the street signs in the city, by providing excellent transport for the tourist both by land and sea, and in short, by valuing and giving importance to the whole tourist experience for any visitor who arrives in the city.
Cartagena "Port of Cultures" is the perfect opportunity for this city to become an exceptional tourist destination: we are talking about a well-designed thematic area which enables its visitors to find out all about the invaluable cultural attractions which Cartagena possesses.
But Cartagena also adds the opportunity to do some rural tourism in some of its inland villages in the district. Quiet areas near natural spaces of environmental interest, ideal for getting closer to nature have the added boon of their proximity to the coast.