Cartagena’s old city is amazing, particularly the inner walled town, consisting of the historical districts of El Centro and San Diego. It is a real gem of colonial architecture, packed with churches, monasteries, plazas, palaces and mansions with their famous overhanging balconies and shady patios.
This is the greatest fortress ever built by the Spaniards in any of their colonies and it still dominates an entire section of Cartagena’s cityscape today. The original fort was commissioned in 1630 and was quite small. Construction began in 1657 on top of the 40m-high San Lázaro hill. In 1762 an extensive enlargement was undertaken.