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Cartagena: El Centro

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It’s hard to believe that these streets are from the 1500’s. With layers of paint keeping the buildings alive. The centro (downtown) was built by the Spanish because they were taking gold from Colombia back to Spain. They built a wall around the centro to protect their stolen gold from pirates. There’s a big fort in the middle that took 200+ years to build with the help of slaves.

Those are palenqueras, the women who dress in large colorful dresses with fruits on their heads. They actually come from a city called Palenque and they travel to Cartagena to work and sell their fruits.

Those are palenqueras, the women who dress in large colorful dresses with fruits on their heads. They actually come from a city called Palenque and they travel to Cartagena to work and sell their fruits.

Cartagena is iconic for its numerous detailed doors. Which makes me wonder what is behind them. From what I know, they’re beautiful mansions with pools in the middle of the house.

Cartagena is iconic for its numerous detailed doors. Which makes me wonder what is behind them. From what I know, they’re beautiful mansions with pools in the middle of the house.

Almost all the facades have some sort of plants intertwining along the walls.

Almost all the facades have some sort of plants intertwining along the walls.

Sometimes you can get a glimpse of how old these buildings are. You start to wonder if those balconies will fall over your head as they’re constantly restoring the facades.

Sometimes you can get a glimpse of how old these buildings are. You start to wonder if those balconies will fall over your head as they’re constantly restoring the facades.

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Mom and sis looking inside a shop with, coincidently, my grandma’s name.

Mom and sis looking inside a shop with, coincidently, my grandma’s name.

This door is part of the oldest church in Cartagena called Convento de Santo Domingo founded in 1551. That’s so old to me. I wonder what that little door was for.

This door is part of the oldest church in Cartagena called Convento de Santo Domingo founded in 1551. That’s so old to me. I wonder what that little door was for.

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My aunt pointed at the sun dial on the side of this church and said that was how the people could tell time. Interesting how “6” is on there twice. No shadows casted on that day because it was cloudy.

My aunt pointed at the sun dial on the side of this church and said that was how the people could tell time. Interesting how “6” is on there twice. No shadows casted on that day because it was cloudy.

These paletas were much needed in the heat of the day. I got the limonada de coco which was refreshing and not too sugary. You have to eat them fast cause they start melting in 2 seconds.

These paletas were much needed in the heat of the day. I got the limonada de coco which was refreshing and not too sugary. You have to eat them fast cause they start melting in 2 seconds.

A quiet corner towards the outside of the centro. You can start seeing the old walls to the right.

A quiet corner towards the outside of the centro. You can start seeing the old walls to the right.

Teatro Heredia is an old theatre which still maintains its original 1906 decor inside.

Teatro Heredia is an old theatre which still maintains its original 1906 decor inside.

Mom and aunt leading us to the bovedas. My mom says that even though she lived in Cartagena for 11 years, she never really explored the centro to the fullest.

Mom and aunt leading us to the bovedas. My mom says that even though she lived in Cartagena for 11 years, she never really explored the centro to the fullest.

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Loved seeing the people hanging out inside the little windows.

Loved seeing the people hanging out inside the little windows.

Real coral walls. You know I love me some close up textures.

Real coral walls. You know I love me some close up textures.

The bovedas is a tourist trap but you can find some great things here. I found this beautiful woven purse for $30. It’s a one of a kind piece made by the locals and they state that the majority of the profit goes to them.

The bovedas is a tourist trap but you can find some great things here. I found this beautiful woven purse for $30. It’s a one of a kind piece made by the locals and they state that the majority of the profit goes to them.

Little coffee jeep.

Little coffee jeep.

The majority of these pics was one or two streets! The centro is small but very condensed. Hard to do it all in one or two days. I’m itching to explore all the streets though! With this new drug war starting again, not sure if I’m ever going back :( Time will tell.

Tatiana GancedoComment