Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cartagena, Spain - Roman Theater

On Sunday, after our Saturday trip to Alhambra, Margot and I drove down to Cartagena. Just to be sure everyone is grounded, this is the Cartagena in Spain - not the one in Columbia where the Secret Service got in trouble.

 Our objective was to visit the Roman Theatre or Teatro Romano. We weren't exactly sure where it was so I asked the GPS to take us there. After driving around the narrow streets of old Cartagena for a few minutes, I gave up on that just went to a known parking garage at the harbor front. Not knowing exactly where we were going, we took a tourist elevator up on the highest hill in Cartagena and then went looking for the Roman Theater.

We stumbled across this at the top of the hill. Not sure what it is but it must be associated with the fort that was at one time there.

We walked along until we found this overlook that looks down into the theater. We found a park employee that told us how to get down to the  entrance. The directions were rather complicated and we missed a turn. Anyway, we finally ended up at the entrance which is several stories below the theater. You access the theatre through a museum and a series of escalators.

Here we are inside the amphitheater. I think it seated about 6000. It was built between 5 and 1 B.C.

In the 3rd century a market was built on part of the site and later destroyed in 425 A.D. Later the Byzantines established a market there in the 6th century. In the 13th century a cathedral was built on part of the site. You can see a portion of it in the picture above. The cathedral was destroyed by bombing during the Spanish Civil War in 1939.

This picture is, I think, a replica of part of the 2 story area behind the stage.

Here is the same picture from a slightly different angle. You can see the modern building and laundry right next to the ancient ruins.

The theater was discovered in 1988 during a construction project. Excavations and reconstruction were completed in 2003 and the museum opened in 2008.

Here we see some of the column pieces found at the site.

Here is a nice YouTube video about the museum.
Museum Video

The is a picture of the Cartagena City Hall and the plaza outside. The entrance to the museum is in this area.

Here is the museum website. Google should automatically translate this to English for you.
Museo Teatro Romano

After our visit the the theater we had lunch at a restaurant on the street. Margot ordered paella. Carlos, if you are reading this I apologize. For others, Carlos is a colleague from Valencia, the home of paella, and in his opinion all paella in Cartagena and Murcia is crap.

Here is another picture of the City Hall and a statue on the sidewalk out front. Margot thought it was a mailman but I'm pretty sure it depicts a sailor returning from the sea.

This is Monument to the Heroes of Santiago de Cuba and Cavite. It honors the sailors and marines who died during the Spanish-American War in 1898 in Cuba and the Philippines.

I couldn't resist. Actually the only real bum we saw in Spain. A lot of buskers and a few others soliciting money but this guy was unique.

We were walking around the harbor area and saw that there was a tourist boat leaving in a couple of minutes so we bought tickets and joined the tour.

During the tour you can get an idea about all the  fortifications built over the centuries to defend the harbor and town. Cartagena as a major port on the Mediterranean Sea for 1000s of years.

The other side from above. They look to be of the same vintage.

There were a dozen or so sailboats out on the water in some sort of race. These 2 seemed to be winning.

Cartagena has been a major Spanish naval base since the 1700s. It is the home of the Spanish submarine force. Issac Peral was a native of Cartagena.This is the Peral submarine which was built in 1888 and was the first practical submarine.

Here is something different. On the drive back to Murcia we noticed a flock of sheep being herded down a road next to the highway by a man and a couple of dogs. We wondered where they were going. Later we saw another heard of sheep in a recently harvested field and it dawned on us where the earlier sheep were going. They were cleaning up the leftovers from the vegetable farm.


  1. Is there a possibility to publish one of yours beautiful pictures? I mean this one of Cartagena city hall, I would like to print it in a book about Kalisz city hall history, which was very close in architecture fashion to those from Spain. How can I e-mail you/ask for permission? / Makary Gorzynski / architecture historian / European Union, Poland.

  2. Hi, Makary. Please contact me at thsavage( at )