Cartagena, Colombia

Colombia Capital

The capital of Colombia is Bogota. It is located in the northwest part of South America. Cartagena is in northern Colombia.

Cartagena Size

Cartagena is approximately 220 square miles or about 352 square kilometers.

Cartagena Population

The total of Cartagena population is about 1 million people.

Colombia Language

The official language of the Colombia is Spanish.

Colombia Currency

The official currency of Colombia is The Colombian peso (P). United States dollars, credit card and travelers checks are widely accepted.

Colombia Tourist Information

If you need information about tourist in Colombia, just call 665-1843

Colombia History

Colombia was originally populated by the Chibchas (CHEEB chaz) Indians, who lived in the mountains of Colombia long before the Americas were discovered. The Chibchas were an advanced civilization and are now referred to as “Pre Columbian.” They were excellent goldsmiths and skilled in weaving and pottery. Unfortunately, this was their downfall, since the explorers plundered the Chibchas for their emeralds and gold.

Cartagena itself was founded in 1533 by Don Pedro de Heredia. Throughout the 16th century, Spain governed the city through a system of Viceroys. When the Spanish conquistadors discovered that the interior of Colombia was rich in gold and emeralds. These items flowed into Cartagena for shipment to Spain. To defend against pirate attacks, King Felipe II ordered a protective wall to be built around the City. In addition, streets of the city were intentionally made narrow and crooked, designed for protection during assault.

Despite the king’s effort, Cartagena was victim to five sieges during the 16th century, the most famous led by Sir Francis Drake in 1586. Drake made it into the Cartagena harbor, but accepted a 10 million peso ransom for not burning the city. After Drake’s siege, Spain redoubled its efforts to fortify Cartagena, and the massive stone wall around the Old City was constructed. Completed in 1686, the wall cost Spain 59 million ounces of gold. The investment paid off in 1741. When England attacked with a force of 24,000 men and 186 ships. Cartagena successfully defended itself. The imposing fleet and powerful British army, led by Admiral Vernon and accompanied by the half brother of George Washington Lawrence Washington, could not break the defence.

Besides the wall, many forts were built to defend the city. The two that guarded the bay were San Fernando and San Jose. A massive chain stretched between these two forts to keep pirate vessels from easily entering Cartagena’s harbor. Towering over all of these forts was the powerful fortress of San Felipe de Barajas, 135 feet above sea level. It was built in 1657 but was captured and destroyed by the French 1697. The fortress was rebuilt between 1762 and 1769 and remains an impressive structure in Cartagena. In 1876 Rafael Nuñez, a citizen with political powers who later became President of the Republic, convinced the government of the historic and economic importance of Cartagena. He also raised funds for the first of many restorations that have occurred in the city ever since.

In 1895, migration from the Middle East helped revive Cartagena economically. Newcomers were a catalyst for the development of commerce and industry. Today, Cartagena’s economy is largely centered around platinum and timber from the headwaters of the Atrato and San Juan Rivers, coffee from the Sierra Nevada and oil products piped from Barrancabermeja, 335 miles up the Magdalena River.

Cartagena Transportation

If you visit Cartagena by cruise ship, you can find taxis easily at the pier. The main means of transportation in Cartagena are taxis. It is advisable that you confirm the fare with the driver before departing. The fares vary according to quality of vehicle, duration of trip, distance of a trip and number of passengers. One way fare to Pierino Gallo and the beaches is approximately $ 20 per cab.

Cartagena Shopping

The Pierino Gallo shopping mall is the main shopping complex in cartagena port. The most important souvenirs you must not miss is a dazzling Colombian emerald which is world-renowned. They are set in assortment of styles and are available in rings, bracelets, necklaces and pendants. Besides, you must also remember that the world best coffee is also grown in Colombia. Therefore, make sure you purchase it here. Cartagena also offers you crafts and leather goods.

Cartagena Bank

Banks are open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday. Some of them are open on Saturday mornings.

Cartagena Post Office

The post office is located one block away from the Pierino Gallo Plaza. It is open from Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Cartagena Public Phone

Cartagena Public Phones are located throughout the ship terminal.

Cartagena Emergency Number

In case of an emergency, dial 911.

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