Brief History of Cartagena
Mediterranean Cartagena Tours runs very interesting historical tours of local places. Last Saturday, there was a tour of some of the Roman sites of Cartagena.
Did you know that the city was founded in the 3rd century BC by the Carthaginians from Carthage in what is now Tunisia? They invaded the city from the Mediterranenan.
The area east of the city produced silver as well as lead and this all helped the wealth of Carthage and to pay off the war penalty imposed by Rome after the First Punic War (as the side that lost had to pay a fine).
Silver from Cartagena also funded the Second Punic War and although the Carthaginians were strong and fierce and believed the city to be safe, the Romans took Cartagena in 209 BC, making it a fundamental new Roman outpost and helping the Romans with their victory over much of Spain. Carthago Nova became a major Roman city. It was important to both Carthage (in North Africa) and to Rome because of being close to prolific silver mines. Of course also there is the harbour.
Later it was ruled by others and they built over the Roman buildings there, where they were lost for centuries.
It is only 30 years ago that a stone declaring that Cesar had build a Roman theatre there was found and it became apparent that under the hills and ground there, lay many Roman foundations. These are still being discovered, when funds allow and now consist of many buildings dotted around the city. There is the Roman theatre (where the majority of funds have been invested for tourism), the Baths (very impressive showing how there was underfloor heating through tower stacks of stone under the floor).
It also has the highest Roman walls in Europe still with Roman mosaics or paintings on them.
There is also another site showing floor mosaics with a dolphin (the Roman sign for Cartagena) and a section of the original Roman road in another part.
More than thirty years ago, all the Roman history in Cartgena was more or less hidden, now there is evidence almost everywhere you go, with a Coliseum, statues, a museum and more being built and archaelogical digs happening.
It is well worth a visit, especially a tour, which brings the history alive.
See the link for tours here http://www.mediterraneancartagenatours.com/
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