Monday, October 24, 2005

Cartagena de las Indias, Part II

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas

So, one of the more interesting things I saw in Cartagena was the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas. Cartagena was originally founded in 1533 by the Spanish and was at that time the principal port for the area. After various attacks by pirates and others looking for a piece of the Spanish wealth that sailed out from the city, construction was started of the Castillo in 1639. It became the most extensive fortification in South America. Check out the
Global Heritage Fund's website for more information on the Castillo (click on Colombia, then More).

The Castillo brought back memories of Fort Sumnter in Charleston (even though it was built much more recently) and of the fort in St. Augustine, Florida, which I think I remember going to at some point. We didn’t go through the structure with a guide, one because I hate guides and two because the groups were too big and I have a hard time understanding Spanish when there’s twenty people all talking at the same time. So I suppose I didn’t learn much of the history, but oh well. Next time, or in the guide book that I’m realizing that I really need to buy. The fascinating part of the Castillo was that I didn’t see any rooms inside. There were lots and lots of tunnels with small person-deep compartments off of them, supposedly for the Spaniards to hide in if someone attacked (if I’m wrong here, somebody please tell me!). It would be extremely easy to get lost inside…the tunnels just keep going down and they all look the same. I kept expecting to get to a room or chamber of some sort, but there was nothing. The fort itself is gigantic; I can’t imagine the manpower needed to build something of that size and complexity inside. But I won’t get into that now… More pics to come, but blogger's acting up right now and I have no patience to sit here and wait for it to upload!

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