Cartagena is a historic gem just half an hour from your home at La Manga Club, and few Spanish cities have preserved authentic ancient wonders in as good condition as this Murcian city. From the Museum of the Roman Forum to the Museum of the Roman Theater to the National Museum of Underwater Archeology, they are all impressive experiences that you shouldn’t miss!
Cartagena or Cartago Nova was founded around the year 227 BC with the name “Qart Hadash”. It enjoyed its true heyday under Roman rule, thanks to its strategic geolocation, its topography and its mining lands (rich especially in lead, silver and zinc). Known as one of the outstanding cities in the era of greatest Roman splendor, and even considered a colony, the inhabitants were citizens under Roman law. During these centuries of history, the impressive theater and the Roman amphitheater were built, monuments that remain standing today and can transport you back to Ancient Rome without leaving Murcia.
Ready to delve into ancient Cartagena? Here’s a list of must-sees on your next visit to your home at La Manga Club:
The Municipal Archaeological Museum
Located on a late-Roman necropolis, this museum possesses authentic ancient relics. You’ll discover, among other treasures, one of the best collections of funerary epigraphy preserved in Spain, and a variety of products, tools, and utensils that the Romans used for their work in the mines or in the production of ceramics. You can also visit an exhibition dedicated to the life of the Romans in the Murcian city that will bring you through their homes and businesses of the time. It’s nothing less than a fascinating trip into the past.
The Cartagena Amphitheater
This spectacular Roman construction dates from the Flavian dynasty, and is one of the oldest in Hispania. Located on the Cerro de la Concepción, the Amphitheater was built in the middle of the 1st Century BC and could hold up to 6,000 spectators. Part of the construction was built on the rocks in the area to take advantage of their uneven elevations, and the other was built on vaults and buttresses. Much later, a bullring was built on the ruins. Today, this Roman wonder is in the process of rediscovery and restoration. It’s one of the most impressive Roman monuments in Murcia and the whole of the country, and an obligatory visit the next time you come to your home at La Manga Club.
The Roman Theater of Cartagena
Just a 9-minute walk from the Roman amphitheater is another imposing city monument that demonstrates Cartagena’s prominent role in Roman times. The Roman Theater was built between 5 and 1 BC and could accommodate up to 7,000 spectators. The excavations directed by archaeologist Sebastián Ramallo Asensio in 1988 succeeded in exhuming the structure, and it can now be visited through the Museum of the Roman Theater. The recovery project has sought to integrate the ruins into the urban fabric, as well as conserve them properly and make their exhibition for educational and cultural purposes possible. Declared an Asset of Cultural Interest (B.I.C.) on January 21, 1999, it is another mandatory stop on this route through the most historic parts of the city.
The National Museum of Underwater Archeology
From your home at La Manga Club, at a distance of just 27 kilometers, you can immerse yourself in this unique museum that holds extensive collections of artifacts whose origins begin in Phoenician times and go all the way up to the XIX Century (the dates attributed to the cargo of the Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes frigate). These artifacts were all found in excavations around the coastal area of the Region of Murcia. Pieces include elephant tusks, ship remains, and even part of the frigate’s treasure trove, made up of more than 500,000 gold and silver pieces.
Cartagena is a city rich in history and cultural heritage, so don’t wait any longer. Put it on your agenda for discovery the next time you come to your home at La Manga Club. You won’t regret it!