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Cartagena de Indias

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Cartagena is the city recreated in two of his novels, "El amor en los tiempos del cólera" (1985) [Love in the Time of Cholera] and "Del amor y otros demonios" (1994) [Of Love and Other Demons].

The Caribbean city of Cartagena de Indias was founded in 1533 by Don Pedro de Heredia on lands inhabited by the Kalamarí indigenous people and was an important Hispanic enclave in Caribbean colonial times. As a slave port and a stronghold in the trade between the Iberian Peninsula and the American Continent, it contains exceptional examples of Caribbean military engineering and colonial architecture. The city was a seat for the Inquisition Tribunal and a preferred target for English and French pirates. It was also the “Heroic City” that withstood the attacks of Pablo Morillo and his men after the city’s declaration of absolute independence on November 2, 1811.

In the end, a walled city, open to the growth that took place in the years following colonial times. This is the city recreated in different historical epochs by Gabriel García Márquez in two of his novels, El amor en los tiempos del cólera (1985) [Love in the Time of Cholera], Del amor y otros demonios (1994) [Of Love and Other Demons], and in fulgurous episodes in El otoño del patriarca (1975) [The Autumn of the Patriarch]. The marks of the colonial and modern city are found in numerous journal texts and stories. The modern Cartagena that the young author and journalist came to know in 1948 is also the subject of splendid chronicles and the deep evocation he makes in his autobiography Vivir para contarla (2002) [Living to Tell the Tale].

Haga click sobre la imagen para ampliarla Camellón de los mártires. Photo: Lisette Urquijo

Camellón de los mártires. Photo: Lisette Urquijo

García Márquez’s literary themes have roots in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the beginning of the 20th. The abovementioned novels take place during these centuries. An equally deep root was "planted” in Cartagena de Indias when he decided to build a city house for spending long seasons, following the foundation, in 1993, of the Escuela para un Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano [School for a new Ibero-American journalism].

In Cartagena, be sure to visit:

  • El Camellón de los mártires – a leading to the walled city
  • El Castillo de San Felipe – a grand castle at the entrance of the Bay of Cartagena
  • Getsemaní – an old district outside the walled city
  • El Portal de los Escribanos (nowadays, Portal de los Dulces) – the old Portal of the Scribes; nowadays the Portal of the Sweets
  • La Casa del Marqués de Valdehoyos – the mansion of a famous colonial trader
  • Convento de las Clarisas – the old convent of the Clarissa sisters, nowadays, Hotel Santa Clara
  • Antigua sede de El Universal de Cartagena –old headquarters of the local journal

Consult the complete texts on Cartagena in Las rutas de García Márquez guide available at the following bookshops: Librería Nacional in Cartagena and Barranquilla and Librería Ábaco in Cartagena.


Calle 28A Nº 13A-15 Piso 36

Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Fondo de Promoción Turistica PROCOLOMBIA

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