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Published: September 22nd 2013
The Spanish love their festivals, just about everyone seems to take part and this week it was the "Fiesta De Carthagineses Y Romanos" which meant their were BIG events taking place. Indeed Charlotte & I had originally planned to go to Cartagena on Friday and Murcia on Saturday but reversed the order when we discovered what was going on in Cartagena on Saturday. Not only do the Spanish love a festival so do we as we were in our element going back a few centuries!!
It's in the evening when the fun usually starts so at 7pm Carthaginian troops entered the city centre which was followed by a re-enactment of what might have happened oh so long ago.
But before I get to that let me tell you what we did during the day. Naturally the first stop was to find a bar down by the harbour and have a drink. From there we wandered along the foreshore and then found the Museo Refugio Dela Guerra Civil - AKA the Civil War Shelters Museum. Apparently it's not a place many Spanish residents of Cartagena like to visit as such memories are very painful and during that time many Spanish
In other words the Town Hall
families had sisters, brothers etc on opposite sides. The refugee shelters were not built until 1937, a year after the Spanish Civil War started. (Incidentally Gary I bought you two book marks there; I couldn't help myself!). Excavated on the side of a hill they were the largest in the city, accommodating 5,500 people. The war had a profound impact on the Spanish and was the first conflict in which aircraft attacked the civilian population. Sources are mixed on the number of bombings which range from between 40 and 117. Salvador Dali's "Soft Constructionwith Boiled Beans" painted in 1936 foreshadowed the conflict. George Orwell was one of those who to went to Spain to fight on the side of the Republicans. Pablo Picasso's famous painting "Guernica" was created in responce to the bombing of the Basque Country village by German & Italian warplanes at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist Forces in April 1937. Needless to say it was a very interesting museum to visit.
Then it was off to the Museo Teat Romano de Cartagena - AKA the Roman Theatre Museum. Built between the 5th & 1st Century BCE the theatre was dedicated to Gaius & Lucius Caesar,
the grandsons of Augustus. By the 3rd Century CE a market was built over it and during the 13th Century a cathedral was built over part of it. It wasn't until 1988 that the first remains of the theatre were discovered with restoration finishing in 2003. Well worth a visit, we both loved it!
From there we headed off to see the Roman Forum District only opened to the public in 2012 and where religious banquets were held as well as housing a thermal bath complex. It is an area which is still being excavated so, no doubt more will be added to what you can visit.
Inbetween these activities we enjoyed watching a newly married bride and groom, given a guard of honour by Spanish Naval Officers, come out of the church having just got married. All very romantic and with beautifully dressed quests throwing rose petals. We enjoyed that!
By the time we'd done all that it was time for the evening's festivities to begin. It started with Carthegian troops arriving in the centre of the city and was followed by a re-enactment of "The Birth of Qart Hadast". Originally known as Mastia, with one
In the Air Raid shelters in Cartagena
Carved out of the rock underneath the Cartagena Castle which were used during the Spanish Civil War
of the best harbours in the Western Mediterranean, the city was re-founded by the Cathaginian General Hasdrubal in 228 BCE and known as Qart Hadast. The whole procedure took at least one hour, and all in Spanish of course but, despite not really understanding it, we nevertheless enjoyed it. With that over we followed all those involved marching through the streets to the beating of drums. Very exciting and great fun. There were two more Acts to follow but we decided not to stay for them; as it was we didn't get home until 11pm. A great day!
Sunday started off lazily but once we'd stirred ourselves we went to Mar Menor and paddled along the beach there at La Pagan. When we returned to the apartment, while Charlotte cooked the last supper I went swimming in the pool which was very pleasant.
Preparing myself now for the flight tomorrow morning to Copenhagen where the highest temperature is one degree less than the lowest temperature here!
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