Sunday, December 09, 2007

Cartegena, Spain

About 200 BCE, Cartagena was Hannibal's Spanish headquarters during the 2nd Punic War with Rome. Currently, after many changes of ownership in the intervening years, Cartagena, with a population of around 175,000, is Spain's principle naval establishment, enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate and sports miles of excellent beaches.

Sadly, all the looting, pillaging and sacking over the centuries - the most recent being the Spanish Civil War in 1936 when Franco's troops from Africa landed in Cartagena and fairly wrecked the joint - has reduced the city to collection of historical fragments effectively robbing it of any clear identity. The city authorities seem to have recognized this and have instituted a major program to repair and rebuild former parts of the city, presumably with tourist dollars in mind. Current conclusion: not ready for prime time as a tourist destination.

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