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The Place To Stay in Cartagena Colombia
Hotel Quadrifolio is where you want to stay to experience the vibrant culture, rich history and world-class attractions in Cartagena Colombia. Located in the heart of the historic walled city of Cartagena de Indias, our boutique hotel is just steps from the city’s best restaurants, shops, bars and tourist attractions. We are less than a ten-minute walk from Catedral de Santa Catalina and Plaza de la Adauna and a 15-minute drive from Rafael Nunez International Airport and the Bocagrande shopping and nightlife district.
Cartagena de Indias
Cartagena de Indias alternated for two centuries with Havana the privilege of being the most relevant port in the New World. Its importance stems from greed for gold and silver in South America. The Spanish Crown intended to take these precious metals to the metropolis; Pirates, mainly English, but also French and Dutch, divert them to their chests.
The City was founded in 1533, perhaps on January 20, by the Madrid-born Pedro de Heredia, on an island that its indigenous inhabitants called Calimarí, and the Spaniards originally San Sebastián de Calamar. Cartagena never, until today, totally lost the original layout of the native people. The current Plaza de Bolívar, dominated by the Palace of the Inquisition, is possibly in the same place as the center of the indigenous village.
The bay of Cartagena is an excellent natural place where to guard an army, and is strategically located in a corner of the Caribbean where the Crown arranged, for two centuries, that the wealth of its South American colonies had to leave. The city and the bay were fortified to protect the "Navy of the Galleons" that from 1566 periodically made the route Seville - Cartagena, and then returned to Seville via Havana. From Cartagena part of the fleet was traveling to Portobelo, Panama, during two weeks of August, to the great fair in which the powerful viceroyalty of Peru traded with Spain, and paid its taxes. Such was its importance that Cartagena deserved the only Court of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in the Caribbean, and was the main black market of the Spanish colonies.
As an example of the wealth of the "Armada", it is rumored that the cargo of the San José galleon, sunk in 1708, 30 km south of Cartagena, near the Rosario Islands, would today be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the antique market. The San José was one of the two largest galleons of the fleet that year, and it was not worth the protection of dozens of fast ships - the English attack exploded its gunpowder store, the
Santabárbara - and in seconds it sank with 600 men , 5 million gold doubloons and 7 million silver.
Cartagena grew and grew rapidly in the 16th century, thanks to the gold found in the burials of the neighboring Sinú region, already discovered by Heredia. With little Fortification, it was taken by pirates in 1544 - Roberto Baal - and again in 1560 - Martín Cote. Then it was attacked by John Hawkins in 1568, which could be defended. In 1586 he surrendered to Sir Francis Drake, his 23 ships and 3,000 men. Drake enjoyed the city several weeks and took a considerable booty, in addition to a major rescue
Paid to free the city (he had applied the "fire tribute", burning 200 buildings). He extended a receipt for all that, to teach the Spanish good British business customs. The result of Drake's incursion was so serious that the city was half depopulated, which is why the Crown later promoted the importation of African slaves.
After the assault on Drake, the fortification of the site began in earnest, by building walls around the city and a sequence of forts. Baptist Antonelli was his greatest engineer. Already around 1670 the formidable Henry Morgan did not dare to attack her, although he did defeat Portobelo and set Panama on fire. In 1697, however, Cartagena fell to the attack of the baron of Pointis and the filibuster Jean Paptiste Ducasse; the defeat was tremendous, and marked the beginning of the city's decline.
The fortification works together lasted two and a half centuries. The infidelity of the sea forced to change its concept several times, since it blinded the Bocagrande canal in the middle of the XVI at the time that it opened the Bocachica canal, and a century later it reopened to
Bocagrande, finally forcing the construction of the submarine breakwater between the current Laguito and Tierrabomba.
The walls of Cartagena visible today, built in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, are beautiful examples of a new type of fortification, no longer the tall and fragile walls of the Middle Ages that protected from the attack of man, but the bastions conceived against artillery. The walls and castles of Cartagena protect from the canyon; they are low, to diminish the objective, and thick, to endure, and to serve as a floor to their canyons; they are shaped like stars with spearheads to defend with crossfire; They are staggered, to allow tactical withdrawals.
When Admiral Vernon attacks Cartagena for two months in 1741, in the greatest battle ever fought in South America, he is defeated by these defenses, by tropical diseases, and by the heroism of the defenders, commanded by the "half man", gift Blas de Lezo, and the skillful viceroy Sebastián de Eslava.
Vernon's attack has curious origins - it was the culmination of the Jenkins Ear War. In the Caribbean the Spaniards had cut off the ear of Lord Jenkins, a pirate and smuggler of royal blood, and this, among a bottle of alcohol, served as a spur in London to start a war against Spain. Only on this occasion England gathered a huge fleet, with more than 150 ships and 30,000 men, commanded by the flower and cream of the English and New England armed forces. This attacked Cartagena at the same time that Commodore Anson climbed the Pacific, in a great English attempt to definitively destroy Iberian hegemony in South America. When the great English historian Arnold Toynbee saw the walls of Cartagena a few decades ago, he exclaimed: "South America does not speak English because of this."
The economic decline of Cartagena, however, was already evident - the Crown suspends the Navy of the Galleons in 1740, before reaching 200 years of it, and opens traffic between Buenos Aires and the metropolis, a route that metals will follow Precious from Peru. Only until well into the 20th century will the city leave its long lethargy.
From the failed but devastating attack of Vernon, the Spanish Crown directly assumed the most significant defense works of Cartagena, including the consolidation of the monumental fort of San Felipe de Barajas, exceeded in size in
Latin America only for "La Cabaña" in Havana. Irony of history: these gigantic investments of the second half of the 18th century would no longer bring any utility to Spain. Cartagena did win - its color. The enormous employment of African slaves by the Crown stained the Cartagena race, and its environment, forever.
In the three centuries that Cartagena was a colony, artisans emerged, and especially skilled masons and carpenters, whose work survived by a tragic miracle: the site of more than one hundred days imposed by Pablo de Morillo in 1815, which deeply undermined Cartagena. Such was the loss of life in those months that Cartagena took almost a century to
recovering the population of 20,000 souls it had in 1815. Thus, Spain's failed attempt to recover its colony cost Cartagena a century of life, but saved the face of its past, by stopping its growth. Obviously, the disappearance of the strategic value of Cartagena for a hegemonic power, which disintegrated in many inert nuclei after independence, and the rapid emergence of Barranquilla, also contributed to the decline of the nineteenth century.
The vestiges of history were methodically destroyed in the name of progress as a prosperous place during the last century! The walls fell to make way for the Grands Boulevards in Paris, the Ringenstrasse in Vienna, and many other congestions in other cities. And this destruction almost also occurs in Cartagena; between 1900 and 1920 the incipient economic rebound, helped by the opening of the Panama Canal, reached to knock down a third of the walls, and fill in most of the canals, lagoons and mangroves that isolated the walled city.
The eclectic-pompier architecture of this era, by Jasper, Lelarge and their colleagues, could have been catastrophic, but among their mates left a jewel in the dome of San Pedro Claver, and works as characteristic and well-suited as the Clock Tower, and the Bank of the Republic Building.
Fortunately, the early abandonment of the old city by the Cartagenera upper class, when he preferred to migrate to Manga and then Bocagrande, helped save most of the buildings in the walled enclosure. In the middle of this century, the center, abandoned to its "rancid messy", still inspired Tuerto López "that affection one has for his old shoes." Then, from the sixties, came the novel conservation project, and the faltering process of restoration of the colonial Cartagena took hold.
In the seventies an important step was taken, with international support: electrical cables were buried in many streets, harmonic public lighting was incorporated, and the neon was eliminated. In the last thirty years some institutions and numerous outsiders have
restored or recycled many of the buildings in the Cathedral district, changing their uses, characteristic of a town that has come to less, to offices, holiday homes, hotels, shops and restaurants, thus starting A new life cycle for the old city. In the eighties this process extended to San Diego and Gethsemane, which until recently were primarily the middle class neighborhoods first, and low and marginal the second, with tenants and informal trade of all kinds.
Exceptional fact of colonial Cartagena, that which Colombians affectionately call the “corralito de piedra”, according to the nickname coined by Eduardo Lemaitre, is that it is not a museum inhabited and worked there by people of all socioeconomic levels, united only by the Good mood and taste to the site. It is a lively town, happy in the Caribbean way, friendly, which does not weigh to bear the romance of so much history.
Today there are three Cartagena, the tourist, the new city, and the industrial, which live with the walled center, which houses only about 5% of the total population. In Bocagrande there is a tourist city full of bustle, bustling and new rich, which young people from all over Colombia consider to be close to paradise. To the east is a huge new conglomerate report, which has grown explosively in recent decades. And at the bottom of the bay, in Mamonal, is the perhaps most dynamic industrial park in the country. There oil is refined, and vinyl, polystyrene, polypropylene, soda, metal pipe, malt, fertilizers are produced ... South of Mamonal there are also about two thousand hectares of shrimp aquaculture.
Cartagena is a city with a fascinating past, a joyful present, and good omens for the future. To feel its guava flavor, I suggest reading "Love in the time of cholera" and "Love and other demons" by García Márquez.
By: Jaime Urrutia Montoya