The 47 porticos and 23 domes of Las Bóvedas, built in the late 18th-century by Antonio de Arebalo, were the last important colonial structure built within the walls of the Old City. Meaning ‘the vaults’ in English, Las Bóvedas was originally constructed as a munitions storehouse and wound up being used as a dungeon in the Wars of Independence; its proximity to the Caribbean Sea meant that, supposedly, the unfortunate prisoners would be standing in sea water at high tide! A popular tourist attraction these days due to the artisan craft market that now occupies the former cells, Las Bóvedas is a beautiful example of Cartagena’s colourful, historical architecture.
The Castillo San Felipe de Barajas is another one of Cartagena’s most visited landmarks: located on San Lázaro hill, strategically positioned overlooking both land and sea approaches to the city, the castle was constructed gradually over a period of 120 years beginning in the 16th century. Named after Philip IV of Spain, the castle is particularly architecturally striking due to its complex series of tunnels and its impressive entrance. It is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open for visitors to explore its tunnels and parapets and enjoy an impressive view of the city below.