Know Cartagena!

Things to do in Cartagena. Romans in Cartagena. Historical facts.

September 2021

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Foro Romano of Cartagena

We only had 3 hours to visit the town, so we decided to see the most important thing. At the entrance of the Museo Foro Romano we bought a ticket to visit the museum, the Roman theater and the castle (about 17 euros per person).

There are no words to describe the Museo Foro Romano of Cartagena, it is like traveling back in time to the times of the Roman Empire.

Archaeological findings of the Foro Romano of Cartagena consist of Roman buildings built around one of the main roads of the city of that time: decumanus. From the decumanus you can get to a large thermal complex and a large building with an atrium, which was identified as the residence of the collegium.

Roman baths in Cartagena

The findings discovered during excavations of the thermae date back to the 1st – 7th centuries. The building of the baths was apparently used until the 4th century, and in the third century AD, it was reformed, in the same time when Cartago Nova was established as the capital of the Roman province of Carthage. The hot springs had rooms with hot and cold water, a sauna and a stage for gymnastic exercises.

Next to visit are the Roman Theater and the Archaeological Museum.

Roman theater in Cartagena

Roman theater in Cartagena

The Roman theater in Cartagena was built between 5 and 1 BC in the city of Cartago Nova, present Cartagena. The theater could accommodate a number of approximately 7,000 people and was used until the 3rd century. In 1988, the theater was discovered by the archaeologist of the University of Murcia, Sebastian Ramallo Asensio, and during the excavations he supervised, it became possible to excavate it so that it could be visited together with the Museum of the Roman Theater.

After visiting the Roman theater, we went to the elevator that lifted us to the castle Castillo de Concepción.

View from the elevator to the bullfighting arena of Cartagena

Roman amphitheater and bullfighting arena in Cartagena

The bullfighting arena was built on the basis of the ruins of a Roman amphitheater. Currently, excavations are in progress and the theater is being restored and will be transformed into a museum object.

The castle of Cartagena

Castillo de la Concepción is a medieval construction from the 13th or 14th century, located on a hill overlooking Cartagena and its port. This castle is drawn on the shield of the city.

The nature of the first buildings on the hill is uncertain. According to a Greek historian Polybius, there was a temple on the hill dedicated to the god Asclepius in Roman times. 

During a recent restoration of the castle was discovered that its first floor was built by reusing Roman-made cisterns that could correspond to either the aforementioned temple of the god Asclepius or buildings from the Byzantine period.

A stunning view to the port opens from the roof.

I would like to add a mandatory visit in Cartagena – the Naval Museum, where you can see the Peral submarine (a sample of the first Spanish submarine), and the Museum of Underwater Archeology, but, unfortunately, they were already closed, and we could not enter.