We are staying within the old city. There is a lot to see and it is very clean. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site after all. But Cartagena is no longer “undiscovered” and cruise ships now stop here. There are many tourists and you do get approached by peddlers while walking the streets. Like a lot of places, the best time to walk around is early in the morning.
You could never tire of seeing the beautiful buildings and their balconies, and we love our small hotel, Casa Mejia, a quiet oasis when the temperature and humidity become nearly unbearable.
We toured the Palace of the Inquisition and then the Convento San Ignacio de San Pedro Claver.
The palace was the seat of the Punishment Tribunal of the Holy Office starting in 1610. All one had to do was accuse someone with a note dropped in a side window, and they would be tried. Eight hundred people were found guilty and executed. In an odd twist, a condemned persons belongings would pass to the accuser. We thought this a bad system open to abuse. We also learned that as Lutherans we would have been considered heretics.
On one plaque in the museum we read the following;
“Heretics” who practiced Judaism and Lutheranism were persecuted; just as those who distributed and read the so-called “forbidden books”.
The Spanish monk Pedro Claver spent his life ministering to the slaves brought from Africa. He was a man ahead of his time, saving hundreds of slaves. His story was the best and most uplifting story we heard. The Catholic Church was unbelievably cruel in their quest for total dominance and control. Independence in 1811 didn’t come soon enough for many people.
A statue of San Pedro and one of the slaves he saved.
A walk through San Pedro’s home is a must see.
The room where San Pedro lived and died.
We shopped some of the handicrafts stores and had a great lunch at La Cevicheria. One of the best parts about staying in the old town is just walking the streets to see the sights.
Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus.
For sunset we did the tourist thing and checked out Cafe Del Mar.
The old town is very pretty at night and we never felt unsafe walking the streets.