The city of Cartagena is situated in the south east region of the autonomous community of the region of Murcia, occupying an area of 558.3 km². The capital of the region with a population of 195,000, Cartagena was founded as its name suggests, by the Carthagenians in 223BC who called it Quart Hadas (New City), and it became Hannibal’s capital city on the Iberian Peninsula. Although the city declined in importance in the middle ages, its prestige increased in the 18th century when it became a major naval base.
Today it is a modern, industrial city although relics of its past are still highly visible. The narrow streets of the old town were built around the ruined 13th century cathedral. There are several sites of historical interest including the remains of the Roman road, an old Roman theatre and the Literna (an ancient lighthouse of Moorish origins).
You can get an overview of the city from the park which surrounds the ruins of the Castillo de la Concepcion, the castle of Cartagena. On the quayside below is a prototype submarine designed by Isaac Peral in 1888. The city hall, marks the end of the Calle Mayor, a street overlooked by balconies and lined with handsome buildings. Excavations in the city include a Roman street and the Muralla Bizantina (Byzantine Wall), built between 589 and 590.
Cartagena’s ancient seaport and naval dockyard is where the first submarine was built in1900 and where submarines are still built today. The port consists of a deep bay with a natural harbour, hence the town’s historical importance. Thanks to its strategic location, the Port of Cartagena throughout all of its history has been a good reference for the marine traffic of the Mediterranean, consolidated as one of the most important industrial ports in Europe.
The town is the major service centre for the Costa Calida urbanizations that continue to develop around it. Cartagena is 30 minutes drive from Murcia via the N301, San Javier airport is 15km from Cartagena. The excellent golf courses at La Manga, which has 3-18 hole courses of international standard, are 20km away.
The Annual average temperature is a mild 20º centigrade with the temperature in the winter very seldom falling below 12º.
Teatro Romano which is in the process of being excavated and is considered one of the most important Roman remains in Spain