plaza de la aduana

Aduana’s Place

This is one of the largest and most elegant squares in Cartagena de Indias. The founder of Cartagena, Don Pedro de Heredia, lived in the Customs building, which encompasses the entire side of the square.

Don Pedro was, along with his brother Don Alonso, who resisted the fierce attack of the French pirate Roberto Baal, on July 25, 1544.

Like most of Cartagena’s squares, this one has had several names that remind us of its history. When the royal offices were installed in the Customs building, the square was called the “Antigua Real Contaduría.” Then in 1790, when the Customs Administration was organized there, it began to be called “Plaza de la Aduana”.

On the occasion of the anniversary of the Discovery of America, on October 12, 1894, the statue of Christopher Columbus was inaugurated in the plaza. It is a marble sculpture of the “Discoverer” with an indigenous woman, who lies on a pedestal decorated with high reliefs of the three caravels: the Pinta, the Niña and the Santamaría.

Its inauguration led the authorities to change its name to “Plaza Colón”, but the people of Cartagena continued to call it Plaza de la Aduana. Later, the city council decided to call it Plaza Rafael Núñez as a posthumous tribute to the four-time President of the Republic, born in Cartagena. But, again, the popular will prevailed over the official provisions, so that it continued to be called Plaza de la Aduana.

Formerly, within the framework of this square, there was the Portal de los Moros, a gallery with arches where the shops and businesses of the Muslims who arrived in Cartagena at the beginning of the seventeenth century operated.

Today the framework of this square is dominated by the Casa de la Aduana, an imposing colonial building, where the offices of the Municipal Mayor’s Office or City Hall of Cartagena operate.

Teatro Adolfo Mejia

Adolfo Mejía Theater

Adolfo Mejía Theater: cultural symbol of Cartagena

The Adolfo Mejía Theater, located inside the Walled City and with a capacity of 643 people, is considered one of the most iconic places in Cartagena, not only for its history and architecture, but also for its importance in the development and cultural inclusion from the city.

Its architecture is eclectic, imitating the summer theaters of the 19th century in Europe. The design belongs to Luis Felipe Jaspe, who was inspired by the Tacón Theater in Havana and the Reina Emma Theater in Curaçao.
It was built in response to the need to have a public space in which the population could access cultural representations without considering only the economic benefits.

Within the grounds of the Chapel of Mercy and with the name of Municipal Theater, this monument was inaugurated on November 13, 1911 to commemorate the first Centennial of Cartagena’s Independence from the Spanish crown (November 11, 1811).
The formal premiere was on February 22, 1912 with the play “The joyful genius”, authored by the Álvarez Quintero brothers and represented by the Evangelina Adamas company.
Between 1913 and 1917, it consolidated its cultural importance in the region, presenting repertoires of 13 different foreign companies dedicated to Italian opera and Spanish zarzuela.
In 1933 it was given the name of Teatro Heredia, in honor of the founder of Cartagena Pedro de Heredia, as a tribute to the IV Centenary of the city’s Foundation.

The Heredia Theater also functioned as a cinematographer in 1937. On January 9, the films “Flor de arrabal” and “Un grito en la selva” were premiered. Likewise, until 1970, the theater was the scene of concerts, recitals, tributes, comedies, ballet, lectures, puppets, operettas, comic theater, mentalists, school events, political rallies and even a public hearing of a woman for the murder of her husband. One of his last performances, during this stage, was in the play “Las Sillas” by Ionesco, presented by Fanny Mickey. Due to its deterioration the theater had to be closed in 1970.
For 28 years, between 1970 and 1998, the theater was closed. Its restoration, the work of the Cartagena architect Alberto Samudio Trallero, took 11 years (1987-1998) and reopened on July 31, 1998 with a recital by the Colombian mezzo-soprano Martha Senn and the presentation of the Frank Preuss Chamber Orchestra. In 1998, the theater acquired the name it bears today, Teatro Adolfo Mejía, in honor of one of the most outstanding musicians and composers in the Caribbean, Adolfo Mejía Navarro.

This is the beautiful and historic Adolfo Mejía Theater. An architectural jewel in the Historic Center of Cartagena that, more than a stage for the arts, is a representative cultural symbol of the Corralito de Piedra and the place where its rich artistic expressions are exalted.

Plaza Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo Square

The arrival in Cartagena cannot be complete without listening to the representative music of the Coast, and the Plaza Santo Domingo is the place par excellence to enjoy the groups that provide serenades and play at the foot of the tables in exchange for tips. It is the favorite when it comes to enjoying the nightlife.

Located in front of the Santo Domingo Church, is this picturesque square that is made up of an open-air plaza surrounded by bars, cafes and restaurants that work in beautiful colonial houses with traditional balconies, where you can enjoy a delicious meal or drink and of course, live serenade.

It is a very touristy place, the one indicated to meet people of all cultures. It is striking “Gertrudis”, a sculpture of a reclining nude woman by the Colombian artist Fernando Botero. Both during the day and at night, it is one of the liveliest places in the city.

Tourists describe it as: A magical place at night. You have to go, yes or yes. The restaurants around the plaza bring their tables out onto the plaza, and the musicians brighten the nights. You really have to be there, the lights, the people and the atmosphere, it’s romantic and charming.

It is very busy, but at the same time quiet to share with friends or family, have a few wines or beers and then have dinner. The groups of dancers and musicals brighten up the time.

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Plaza de la Trinidad

It is named after the church of the Holy Trinity, founded in 1643 and located in the square. Some time later, the Cabildo ordered that it be called “Plaza de la Libertad” in honor of the inhabitants of the Getsemaní neighborhood who allowed and supported the independence struggle of 1811.

It is currently the epicenter of Cartagena’s nightlife, where natives and tourists meet to talk, enjoy the sale of fast foods, participate in aerobics and Zumba training, or to delight in the talent of artists who perform in the square. . A night in the Plaza de la Trinidad is recommended for those looking for a quiet plan with friends or meeting new people.

En medio de la plaza existió un pozo de agua dulce que fue tapado para los años de 1860, en la plaza hoy se puede apreciar la escultura en homenaje a Pedro Romero y una serie de grafitis que homenajean la cultura local, La Plaza de la Santisima Trinidad es por mucho uno de los lugares mas cartageneros que existen, en las noches grupos de bailes se apoderan de ella para animar a los espectadores, un lugar al que no se puede dejar de ir si uno visita Cartagena o vive en ella.

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The Clock Tower

Cartagena colombia travel guide introduce you The Clock Tower. This an emblematic 30-meter-high construction that rises between the Los Coches and La Paz squares.

This beautiful monument, considered one of the five most beautiful public clocks in the world, keeps in itself the history of a city that was once protected by its gates. Built on a wall canvas, the Cartagena Clock Tower is one of the obligatory steps to get to know the Historic Center of the city.

Its first foundations were laid in 1601, when it was called La Puerta del Puente, due to the wooden viaduct that connected the island of Getsemaní with the Center, then known as Calamarí. This is how it became the main gate of the city since 1631, when the walled fence was completed.


– It is located between the squares of La Paz and Los Coches, a place that in the Colony served as a transit point and a slave market.

– It has had different names such as: Puerta del Reloj and Boca del Puente.

– The first clock that the Tower held was brought from the United States in 1874. 63 years later, in its place, the current clock imported from Switzerland was placed, the North American one being transferred to the temple in the Torices neighborhood.

– The side vaults, which were sealed, were fully opened at the beginning of the 20th century, when the left door was opened.

– The name “Puerta del Reloj” responds to the clock with which it was crowned at the beginning of the 18th century. While the name “Boca del Puente” is due to the fact that during the colonial period a drawbridge was built at the foot of the San Anastasio Canal, which linked the walled city with Gethsemane. In addition, the bridge served as a defense, since in case of an enemy attack, it was raised to prevent the access of pirates and buccaneers.

– The gate was protected by the bastions of San Pedro Apóstol and San Juan Bautista. It has a post-classical style in its facade. Its side vaults were built, bomb-proof, for the storage of ammunition.

– Its style evokes the facade of the church of the convent of San Francisco in Santo Domingo. In fact, both doors have a Roman semi-circular arch, flanked by two pairs of Tuscan columns and the same entablature with a frieze decorated with triglyphs.

– It measures 30 meters high and has the most important clock in Colombia which, according to BBC Travel, is one of the 5 most emblematic in the world. Due to pirate attacks, the clock had to be changed several times.

– This work became the main gate of Cartagena when the walled fence was completed; years later, it was partially destroyed by the Baron de Pointis, and in 1704 it was repaired by the engineer Juan Herrera.

It should not surprise us that Cartagena de Indias is full of so many stories and curious facts, since even before the arrival of the Spaniards it was already a place that attracted visitors who were enchanted by the exuberant beauty of this region and its strategic location. . Today the city has become one of the most popular tourist destinations around the world and its Clock Tower is recognized and admired by the thousands of visitors who take it in photos as one of their most precious memories of their time in The Heroic.