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Cartagena is really a small port city which has only lately started to attract vacationers from all over the world. This serene, subtlety gorgeous and unassuming town has remained relatively tourist-free through the years, but the secrets out. Cartagena, situated 29 miles south of Murcia, is a superb spot to see. The local people are amiable and hospitable. Cartagena is dry and warm virtually throughout the year. It features a moderate weather that's ideal for traveling through the region. The elements rarely become hot or uncomfortable to bear, which is why tourists make a beeline for this destination all through the year.
 
Within the 3rd century BC, the Carthaginians founded Cartagena. The town offers an very wealthy culture and history. It's also Spain's primary naval base, simply due to its ideal location. Situated directly on the med, most of the country's metropolitan areas and ports are very accessible from Cartagena.
 
The designed squares of Cartagena are extremely magnificent that you could spend hrs just sitting and searching. It is really an enormously popular activity, and taking pleasure in Spanish snacks while relaxing within the squares is really a valued pastime for local people and vacationers alike. Don't let yourself be alarmed when you are admiring among the squares a lot longer than you'd have anticipated. Most of the boulevards in Cartagena are lined with gorgeous palms, creating shade along with a crisp, clean atmosphere. Cartagena has continued to be relatively unchanged within the decades. Modern apartment sections happen to be put into the surrounding suburbs due to all the recent tourism. The structures and spiritual structures from the city increase its wonderful culture, along with a walking tour of Cartagena is excellent fun.
 
Docking & Local Transportation
Cruise ships pier in the Port of Cartagena situated at Plaza Heroes p Cavite. After that, you are able to walk towards the downtown region, or hail a cab
 
Many people discover that Cartagena is really a terrific walking city, and you'll probably agree. However, should you desire motorized transportation; you'll find taxis awaiting you in the port. Or, you are able to rent a vehicle during town.
 
Local Interests
The Museo Salzillo, which is situated on Plaza San Agustin, features a fascinating assortment of Francisco Salzillo's haunting yet brilliant polychrome designs and carvings. It is really a very interesting site, which figures are transported every Easter time throughout the religious processions.Possibly the easiest method to begin to see the historic sites of Cartagena is thru the Puerto Culturas, a connection of some of the top sites within the city. Incorporated within the "Puerto" would be the Castillo p la Concepción the Punic Wall Experience, an exhibit integrating a making it through portion of the Carthaginian-era wall that concentrates on Cartagena's ancient beyond the Spanish language Civil War Animal shelters, an art gallery built from an old air raid shelter and a number of other sights.
 
Things to do
The Murcia Coast is markedly different from the surrounding coastal areas of southeastern Spain. Here you are met by the curious Mar Menor, an inland sea hemmed in by La Manga, the narrow strip of land that has beaches on either side. About 10 miles south of the Mar Menor is Cartagena, the region's principal city, which was founded by General Asdrúbal in 227 BC. Even then its natural harbor surrounded by five hills made it a busy port. It was from here that Hannibal set out in 218 BC with a mighty army and his elephants crossing the Pyrenees and the Alps before narrowly failing to destroy the Roman Republic. The Romans had their revenge in 209 BC, when they conquered Cartagena during the Second Punic War. This began a period of splendor under Roman rule that lasted until the beginning of the 2nd century AD. Inland is Murcia, the provincial capital and university town of more than 440,000, which was first settled by Romans.
 
Sights
Downtown Cartagena is a pleasant short walk from the port along the seafront promenade. A tour bus departs from just outside the port, Tuesday to Sunday at 10, 11, 12, 1, 4 and 5. With commentary about the city's attractions, the tour is a good introduction to Cartagena.
 
Augusteum. A block from the House of Fortune, the Augusteum remains were once two important public Roman buildings dating from the 1st century BC. It's thought that they were used as a place where the priests of the cult of the Emperor Augustus met to spread the imperial ideology during his reign. There are group visits only during the week, but individuals may visit on weekends, book at the nearby Casa de la Fortuna. Caballero 2. Admission charged.
 
Barrio Foro Romano (Roman Forum Block). This interesting Roman Forum remained buried for over 20 centuries until excavations in 2008-9 into the hillside revealed an entire block of Roman buildings. Highlights here include a thermal bathing complex, atrium, and the Decumano Calzada Romana, a section of the Roman road that originally joined the harbor and Forum. The paintings on the walls of the banqueting hall in the atrium and the mosaics in the baths are of particular note. Ladera sur del Cerro Molinete, entrance via Calle Paraíso. Admission charged.
 
Casa de la Fortuna. At the remains of the Casa de la Fortuna, which belonged to a wealthy family of the 1st century BC, the most attractive feature is the fresco painted on the dining-room walls. It's to the south of the tourist office, down the main road. Pl. del Risueño. Admission charged.
 
Castillo de la Concepción. Most of what can be seen of the castle today was built by Enrique III in the 14th century, using the remains of nearby Roman ruins. The views are astounding, reaching out over the town, harbor, and the Mediterranean. A panoramic lift on Calle Gisbert (excavated in 1878 to join the center of the city to the sea) rises nearly 150 feet to a gangway that leads to the Concepción Castle. Besides saving a strenuous walk, the gangway also offers great views. Concepción Hill.Admission charged.
 
Muralla Púnica (Punic Wall). Across from the tourist office on the San José hill, the Punic Wall dates from 227 BC. The walls enclosed and helped defend the Punic city that became the capital of the Carthaginians on the Iberian Peninsula. San Diego 25. Admission charged.

Museo Arqueológico. A little distance outside the old town, and built over the 4th-century Roman necropolis of San Antón, the Museo Arqueológico is the headquarters for all archaeological study in this area. Exhibits give you a good idea of Cartagena's history from prehistoric times (there's a large display of fossils) to the Romans whose architecture, weapons, amphoras, and coins dominate the museum. C/ Ramón y Cajal 45.
 
Refugio Museo de la Guerra Civil (Civil War Shelters Museum). Cartagena suffered through much aerial bombardment during the Spanish civil war, since it was the base for most the Republican fleet. For the safety of its citizens, shelters with a capacity of 5,500 were built into the sides of the Concepción hill. At the museum, visitors today can see the conditions people had to endure during those harrowing days.Gisbert 10. Admission charged.
 
Teatro Romano (Roman theater). Discovered in 1987, the Teatro Romano dates from the late 1st century BC. This impressive theater was built into the northern slopes of the Concepción hill and could seat over 6,000 spectators. The museum displays the most important pieces found during the excavation. Pl.Condesa Peralta s/n. Admission charged.
 
La Manga del Mar MenorThe advance of rocks and sand from two headlands into the Mediterranean Sea transformed what was once a bay into the Mar Menor (Smaller Sea), a famously calm expanse of water about 20 feet deep. The Mar Menor is Europe's largest saltwater lake (170 square km [105 square miles]), and, because of its high salt and iodine content, it's used as a therapeutic health resort for rheumatism patients. The Manga ("sleeve") is the 21-km (13-mile) spit of sand averaging some 990 feet wide that separates it from the Mediterranean. Four canals, called golas, connect the Mar Menor with the Mediterranean. The Manga has 42 km (26 miles) of immense, sandy beaches on both the Mediterranean and the Mar Menor sides, allowing swimmers to choose more or less exposed locations and warmer or colder water according to season and weather.
 
Murcia A provincial capital and university town of more than 440,000, Murcia was first settled by Romans. Later, in the 8th century, the conquering Moors used Roman bricks to build the city proper. The result was reconquered and annexed to the crown of Castile in 1243. The Murcian dialect contains many Arabic words, and many Murcians clearly reveal Moorish ancestry.
 
Cathedral. Murcia's cathedral is a masterpiece of eclectic architecture. Begun in the 14th century, the cathedral received its magnificent facade-considered one of Spain's fullest expressions of the Churrigueresque style-as late as 1737. The 19th-century English traveler Richard Ford described it as "rising in compartments, like a drawn out telescope." The 15th century brought the Gothic Door of the Apostles and, inside, the splendid chapel of Los Vélez, with a beautiful, star-shape stone vault. Carvings by the 18th-century Murcian sculptor Francisco Salzillo were added later. The bell tower, built between 1521 and 1792, rises 95 meters (313 feet). Pl. Cardenal Belluga, s/n.
 
Casino. Wander north on the pedestrian shopping street Calle de la Trapería and you soon reach the 19th-century casino, which retains the aura of a British gentleman's club.The facade is a mixture of classical and modern styles; the inside, inspired by the Alhambra in Granada, has a patio arabe (Moorish courtyard). Despite the name, this has never been a gambling center-locals come to read the newspaper and play billiards.Calle de la Trapería, 18. Admission charged.
 
Museo Salzillo. This museum has the main collection of Francisco Salzillo's disturbingly realistic polychrome pasos (carvings), carried in Easter processions. The museum, located by the bus station, is run by volunteers and may be closed-call beforehand to check. Pl. San Agustín 1.Admission charged
 

Lorca - If you are touring the region and have the time, it's worth a short detour to get a glimpse of Lorca, an old market town and the scene of some of Spain's most colorful Holy Week celebrations. The town suffered serious damage in May 2011 when two superficial earthquakes struck the area and destroyed much of the old quarter. Restoration work is underway, although many monuments will be closed until mid-2013 at least.
 
Castillo Fortaleza del Sol (Fortress of the Sun Castle). It's well worth the climb up to the castle, which dates from medieval times when it was the most important fortress in the area due to its strategic position on the frontier between the fighting kingdoms of Christian Castille and Moorish Granada. The two watchtowers and main castle wall are from the 13th century, while the Jewish quarter and lovely synagogue date from the 1500s. Audio guides in English are included in the admission price. Ctra. de la Parroq
 
Where to Eat
if you are into hot chocolate (super-thick & rich, almost like a chocolate sauce!) and churros try at Valor (near the theater)  highly recommend. You definitely should get the hot chocolate & churros -- plus it's a generous portion. Rincon de Pepe, situated at Apostoles 34 only miles away in Murcia, serves a wonderful choice of Mexican food and just the finest meat and seafood. Reception menus can be quite extensive, and also the snacks, particularly the seafood and truffle salad, are delectable. Restaurante Azafrán, an elegant joint by having an ambitious mission statement, delivers a number of excellent dishes, together with a highly suggested coconut soup. Sea food enthusiasts will love Techos Bajos that can bring reasonably listed, fresh and delicious seafood dishes right out the nearby fishing port to the plate.
 
Shopping
There are many excellent shops in Cartagena including El Corte Inglés, a very large and up market department store. There are signs all over the city directing you to it, so it is easy to find. There is also a sizeable Carrefour and Eroski.
In late 2006 a large retail park opened. This is on your right as you enter the city from Playa Paraiso. Shops (and they all seem to be enormous) include Decathlon (sports), Media Mart (computers, TVs, and domestic electrical appliances) and Leroy Merlin. This last shop is an expanded version of Homebase and B&Q selling everything from very large 12 kw generators down to screws and doorknobs. We went on the day it opened and it was full of very excited, noisy Spanish people!
 
If you are exhausted by all this sightseeing (and maybe shopping) there are many parks and shaded squares, particularly in the old part of the town, were you can take a break. Possibly even more appealing, there are many good bars and restaurants were you can sit and eat/drink and watch the world go by.







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