Cartagena, on the southern coast of Spain

Cartagena is on the southeast coast of Spain.  Our ship continued to Rome but we got off here.

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Cartagena was settled in 227 BC.  Like the seaport of Malaga, it flourished under Roman, Muslim and Arab rule.  Cartagena has one of the best harbors in the Western Mediterranean and is still an important Spanish naval seaport.

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We left the ship and rolled our bags along the seawall to our hotel near Town Hall Square. 

DSC07545 C Plaza del Ayuntamiento

Calle Mayor (High Street) is a major pedestrian and commercial street with lots of shops and restaurants.

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DSC07475 -8 Stitch C City Hall

City Hall was built in the early 20th C during the city’s mining industry boom.

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DSC07482 -4 Stitch C Gran Hotel

The Grand Hotel is an Art Nouveau building from the early 20th C.  

It wouldn’t be Spain without Iberian ham.        These are Roman column ruins.

DSC07486 C  DSC07490 C Roaman Colonnade

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A military parade came by during our coffee break! 

This is the church of Santa Maria de Gracia, originally built the 18th C it is the starting point for many Easter holiday processions.

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We spotted Ale-Hop cows in almost every town we visited.  Ale-Hop is a gift shop.  The cow does grab your attention.

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The Concepción Castle can be seen behind the Charles III rampart.  Cisterns were built in the 13th C on the remains of a Muslim fortress.  In 1728, the city was fortified with the construction of a modern castle in place of a former Moorish kasbah.  The castle was abandoned in the 18th C but is now the Centre for Interpretation of the History of Cartagena. 

We took an elevator up to the castle hill.

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In the 13th C reconstruction of the castle used large structures from the  Roman Amphitheatre (1st century AD).  A bullring was built over it which is now abandoned. 

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There are great panoramic views of the city and harbor from a plaza on the top of the castle hill

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DSC07515 C Teatro romano de Cartegena

The Roman Theatre was discovered in 1988.  The second largest of the Iberian Peninsula, it was begun at the end of the 2nd century BC. 

Santa Maria la Vieja Cathedral  (13th C) was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War.

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DSC07530 C Charles III Rampart

We left the castle and followed the wall back to the waterfront to see our ship leave the port.

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We walked back into town to find the Cathedral and Roman Theatre ruins.

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DSC07554 -5 Stitch C Byzantine Rampart

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Time for Tapas!

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Back to our hotel room to enjoy the view.

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DSC07563 C on our hotel deck (2)

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Malaga, Spain – on the Costa del Sol

Malaga was the second stop of our fall cruise.  It is considered the southernmost large city in Europe.  The resorts along the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) are very popular with the British so it’s easy to find English speakers and lots of info printed in English.  (Truth be told, our very limited Spanish was never tested in the 3 weeks we traveled in Spain!)

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Malaga is one of the oldest cities in the world, founded originally by the Phoenicians around 770 BC and was subsequently ruled by Ancient Carthage, the Roman Empire, the Visigoths, the Byzantine Empire and, for 800 years, was under Muslim Arabic rule.  In 1487 the Crown of Castile gained control.

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We took a hop-on-hop-off bus from the port to see the sites.  First stop was the 14th century Gibralfaro Castle, at the top of the hill.  The  earliest construction here dates back to the Phoenicians.

These dioramas show the Cathedral , the Alcazaba behind it, and the castle on the hilltop.

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There’s a small museum inside the castle but the spectacular views are the main draw today.  (Our ship is on the far left.)

DSC07300 CDSC07305 C Malaga Cathedral The CathedralDSC07311 C The Alcazaba The AlcazabaDSC07313 CDSC07320 C Plaza de Toros The Plaza de Toros, the bull ring, can hold up to 15,000 spectators.

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Back on the bus we went down the hill and got off near the Roman theatre. 

This was only rediscovered in 1951 when renovations were being done on the Casa de la Cultura.  The Culture House was eventually demolished to uncover the site.  Built by Caesar Augustus in the1st century AD, this theatre was used until the 3rd century.  Much of its construction material such as stones, columns and carved stones were later used for building the Alcazaba, on the hill above it.

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The Alcazaba palace is a Moorish citadel built on the remains of an older Phoenician fortress.  What can be seen now was built in 11th century and expanded in the 14th C.  It was the residence of Arabian kings and the palace fortress of the Muslim  governors.  It is the most well preserved citadel in Spain.  

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There were lots of school groups visiting.

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Another diorama shows the lay out.  We missed getting a map at the entrance.  It’s quite a jumble with gardens leading  to rooms leading to unexpected dead ends.

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I was delighted by this place.  It’s a mini Alhambra with lovely photo opts at every turn. 

(You can see pictures of another Alcazaba down the coast in Almeria that we toured on another cruise.)


DSC07393 C Malaga Cathedral

A few blocks away is the Cathedral of Malaga.  This Renaissance-style cathedral was begun during the Gothic period in the 16th century and building continued into the 18th century.  It incorporated an old mosque and adopted many architectural styles over the years.  The current building is still unfinished.  The lack of the south tower has given it the popular name of “La Manquita”, the one-armed lady. 

DSC07424 C Cathedral de la Encarnacion de Malaga DSC07426 C

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Malaga street scenes…

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DSC07428 C Palacio Zea Salvatierra DSC07420 C

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The Ataranzas Market was recently refurbished.  There’s a huge stained glass window on the rear wall.  By early afternoon most of the stalls were closed.

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Park de Malaga

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Malaga City Hall

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A final view of the Alcazaba.

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A wonderful day in Malaga.

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