February 12, 2014

A Day And A Night In Cartagena, Colombia

This past weekend, I traveled to Cartagena, Colombia to attend the opening of Biaci, the first international contemporary art biennial.  This biennial was created to showcase Cartagena as a center for the arts, bringing together artists from different countries, whose works are exhibited throughout the city of Cartagena.  It is the hope that this will become a wonderful attraction for tourists, as the annual music festival has become.  Rich in culture, Cartagena was one of the first cities founded by the Spaniards in South America and was named after Cartagena, Spain.  Begun in 1533, this port city is located on the northern Caribbean Coast Region of Colombia.  Gold found in the tombs of a previous culture was a major draw to this area.  However, that gold was also attractive to pirates and privateers and the area became a frequent plunder site.  After several disastrous raids and attacks, it was decided during the 17th century that the city should be fortressed to repel future attacks.  The result was a walled-in Cartagena protected by a reinforced bastion, which was never penetrated.  During that time, Cartagena became a major trading port for precious metals and also, quite sadly, for African slaves.