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Cartagena Columbia on Our 2013 World Cruise Aboard ms Amsterdam

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Cartagena, Columbia is on the Atlantic Ocean and was once an important Spanish stronghold in the New World.  This fortified city boasts colonial architecture, pristine offshore islands, and the finest emeralds in the world. This city was one of the most important ports in colonial times for transporting gold, emeralds and other precious cargo to Spain.  Frequently, Cartagena was under attack by pirates.

Columbia is famous for its emerald gem stones

Columbia is famous for its emerald gem stones

On the Inner Bay scenic cruise, Barb enjoyed an excellent view of the 11-mile wall that surrounds the older part of the city and some of the defenses. Part of the city is very old and part of it is very new with giant hotels and high-rise buildings

Mixture of the old and the new

Mixture of the old and the new

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Old galleon ship

Old galleon ship

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During the 17th century, the Spanish crown hired prominent European military engineers to carry out the construction of the city and harbor defenses.  African slaves were brought to the city to construct the forts and walls, which were made of stone, bricks, tile, and coral. This massive undertaking took more than 200 years to complete, making Cartagena the most impenetrable city of the Spanish Main.  Many of the Africans who provided the labor were released from their enslavement or escaped from their owners and took refuge in the surrounding forests, where some of their descendants still live. The original Spanish explorers found Caribe Indians living in the area, but killed most of them, after being presented gold as gifts.

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The port of Cartagena is a large container ship port.

The port of Cartagena is also a large container ship port.

We leave Cartagena, Columbia on our way to Panama to transit the Panama Canal.