San Felipe’s Castle
This fortress is the biggest military building complex in Latin America was built by the Spanish. The magnificence of this fortification is evident from the first moment you enter its tunnels, secret passages, underground galleries and powder stores that transport you back to the eighteen century when British troops attacked Cartagena and this fortress was the city’s main defense. The construction began in 1647 and took ten years to complete. It was the work of master craftsman Gaspar Mejía. Tourists from all over the world come to Cartagena to get to know this icon of the continent through guided tours in which some of its story is told from side to side the tunnels and paths. Souvenirs are available in the gift shop, located within the castle.
This 23 brick set vaults allowed troops to move freely in wartimes without suffering the effects of the Caribbean climate. Completed in 1798, it was the last construction by the military engineer Antonio de Arévalo. It was initially planned as a prison, also to keep gunpowder and supplies for the troops. Now restored, you can find antiques shops, galleries and bars, making it an ideal place to buy souvenirs and Colombian art. A visit to the vaults is a great plan to shop in the afternoon. Be sure to visit “La Garita Local # 23” where you’ll find the best Colombian crafts made by local artisans.
La Popa Mount
Cerro de la Popa is an architectural relic that is notable for its magnificent facade and is visible from anywhere in the city standing on the highest hill in Cartagena. The hill, which is located about 492 feet above sea level, is the site of the “Convento de La Candelaria”, which is the main reason for believers to climb to its summit. Between endlessly long processions and visits to the interior of this jewel built in 1606, thousands of tourists flock to see the place that used to be a reference point for ships as they approached Cartagena, the navigators pointed to the hill saying that it resembled the stern of a boat.
Sculpture in bronze by the Spaniard Eladio Gil Zambrana in 1974, is one of the most important characters of Cartagena’s history. This monument commemorates this beautiful native woman, daughter of Chief Galeras, who was kidnapped by the Spanish conquistadors when she was a child. Twenty years later she was reunited with her family and became known as “La Pacificadora” for her role as mediator on behalf of the digenous tribes. She also assisted the Spanish in their search for treasure. The monument is located on the Chambacy roundabout and is also the logo of the Cartagena’s International Film Festival.
Located at the rear section of Castillo San Felipe, this monument was erected in honor of Don Luis Carlos López, a local poet who became famous for his sonnet called “A mi ciudad nativa”: “You were heroic in colonial times, when your children were golden eagles, not just a bunch of swifts. (…) How you are able to inspire the affection that one has for one old shoes…”. It was built by the Colombian sculptor Héctor Lombana.
Three legendary steeds are located to the left of the Cartagena’s Convention Center in a work donated by the Colombian artist, Hector Lombana in 1992. It is one of the attractions that welcomes you to the city and is located in the “Bahía de las Animas” where there are tour guides offer their services to tourists and residents.