Spotlight on Cartagena «Euro Weekly News

Cartagena stands proud as an important naval stronghold on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. With over 200,000 inhabitants, it is the second largest municipality in Murcia and the sixth largest city in Spain that is not a regional capital. The Cartagena area, known as Campo de Cartagena, is home to almost double that number.

The city's history revolves around its strategic port, hailed as one of the Mediterranean's most important defense centers. Since the 18th century, Cartagena has played a central role in Spanish maritime operations in the region. Sights such as the Roman theater and various architectural treasures showcase its rich heritage.

Modern Cartagena sees itself transforming into a vibrant cruise destination while nurturing its cultural roots. The municipality includes charming villages such as La Azohía and Los Urrutias, all under the umbrella of 24 different districts.

Despite centuries of exploitation, Cartagena's environment is filled with diverse plants and animals. There are many different species of plants and animals in places such as the coastal mountains and protected areas such as the Mar Menor and Calblanque Natural Park. Even though there are factories and many tourists, nature is still thriving here.

Economically, energy-related activities are among the most important in the area, while agriculture and shipbuilding continue to play an important role. Tourism and the catering industry in particular have increased in recent years.

Cartagena offers a unique experience, from its historic port to its beautiful beaches, making it a must-visit destination.

Roman Theatre

Tucked away in the coastal town of Cartagena lies the Roman Theater. Built between the 5th and 1st centuries BC, this ancient amphitheater has a rich history and stunning architecture.

Originally built for the entertainment of Roman citizens, the theater could seat up to 6,000 spectators. Imagine the buzz of excitement as the crowds gathered to watch theatrical performances, gladiator fights and other spectacles.

Over the centuries, the theater fell into disrepair, buried under the rubble of time. However, at the end of the 20th century, excavations once again revealed its grandeur. Today, visitors can wander the well-preserved ruins, marvel at the intricate stonework and imagine the events that once unfolded within these walls.

The Roman Theater is a testament to Cartagena's ancient past and offers a glimpse into the lives of its former residents. So as you wander the streets of this charming Spanish city, be sure to visit this remarkable piece of history.

Step back in time at Cartagena's Roman Theater. Image: Shutterstock/BearFotos

Cruising through Cartagena

THE Port of Cartagena will welcome 17,000 tourists aboard 17 cruises in May, including the illustrious Disney Dream. The diversity of ships, from expeditions to luxury liners, underlines Cartagena's ambition to become a leading cruise destination.

The arrival of the Odyssey of the Seas from Málaga marked the start of a bustling month for the port city. Royal Caribbean's colossal ship, with room for 4,198 guests, made a stopover.

Notably, the National Geographic Explorer, a Lindblad Expeditions ship known for its polar expeditions, recently docked. Another triple call will take place in May, when the Corinthian, Star Legend and Bolette will bring approximately 1,200 cruisers to Cartagena. The month ends with a double call, featuring Scenic Eclipse and Crystal Symphony, along with other notable ships.

Cruise tourism is a big deal in Cartagena, contributing to the city's vibrant tourist scene. The mix of history and architecture makes it a hit with cruise passengers. So more and more cruise ships are anchoring here, bringing in more tourists and showing Cartagena to the world.

Smooth sailing forward. Image: Shutterstock/Paulo Miguel Costa

Local news

Record turnout

MORE than 50,000 people enjoyed La Noche de Los Museos (The Night of Museums) in Cartagena, making it the most attended event in its history. Both locals and tourists took part in the cultural activities organized by the Cartagena City Council on Saturday, May 18. Museums stayed open until 1 a.m. and offered more than 200 free activities throughout the day. The event featured live music, dance performances and parades.

The most visited locations were the Roman Theater with 8,000 visitors, the Military History Museum with 7,000 and the National Museum of Underwater Archeology ARQVA with 4,500. The Roman Theater alone attracted double the number of visitors compared to the previous year.

Visitors discovered the local modernist architecture, the history of Carthago Nova, 19th-century windmills, military heritage, glass-blowing crafts and cultural attractions such as the Teatro Circo Apolo. Street performances, such as the Oniria show with illuminated giants, captivated audiences in squares and from bustling restaurant terraces. The weekend also saw the Cartagena Puerto de Sabores food fair, which offered traditional and modern dishes and drinks, including submerged wines.

Cartagena's museums come alive Image: Cartagena City Hall.

Circus theatre

NOELIA Arroyo, the eldest of Cartagena, has announced a major renovation for the Nuevo Teatro Circo. This project will be led by Paco Leal, the technical director of the Almagro Festival, who also renovated the Teatro Circo in Murcia. According to Arroyo, they have an excellent plan to modernize the theater and restore it to its former grandeur.

Details of the renovation will be announced next week. This project is part of a broader effort by the city to improve its cultural venues. In addition to the Nuevo Teatro Circo, the city has invested in the Luzzy Cultural Center, plans to improve the environment of Auditorio Paco Martín, boost the Teatro Apolo de El Algar and develop the Cine Central project.

For Cartagena, these upgrades represent a significant boost to its cultural scene. Improved infrastructure will attract more performances and events and meet the city's growing cultural demands. This transformation aims to turn Cartagena into a cultural center, benefiting both residents and visitors.

Theater transformation Image: Facebook/ Nuevo Teatro Circo

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