Punic wall of Cartagena

Cartagena, Spain

The Punic wall of Cartagena (Muralla púnica de Cartagena) is an archaeological site from the 3rd century BC in which can be seen the first defensive wall of Cartagena, built by the Carthaginians.

This is an important site because it is one of the few remains of Carthaginian civilization in Spain, and the walls bear witness to one of the most important events of Ancient history in the Mediterranean Sea: the Second Punic War.

In 227 BC, the Carthaginian general Hasdrubal the Fair founded the city of Qart Hadasht, probably on an early Iberian settlement called Mastia. The new city was located on a peninsula in the middle of a bay and had five high hills, two of which were at the entrance of the isthmus, so it had a great position for the military defense.

In this context, during the brief period of Punic domain upon Cartagena (227-209 BC), the Carthaginians decided to fortify the Barcid capital in Iberia with a wall that surrounded the settlement. The presence of this fortification was crucial to prevent a Roman assault led by the brothers Gnaeus and Publius Cornelius Scipio in 216 BC, when the Second Punic War had broken.

However, with the arrival of General Scipio Africanus, the walls were able to contain the enemy only for a short time. The Romans besieged the place by land and sea, and taking advantage of their numerical superiority dodged the defenders stationed in the walls and conquered Qart Hadasht after a tough battle, signifying the beginning of the end of Carthaginian power in the south of the Iberian Peninsula.

Architecture

The wall used Hellenistic models: is composed of a double parallel paramento of tabaire (sandstone from local quarries) which retains a height of three meters.

The ruins of the Punic walls that can be seen today belong to the lienzo of the section that extended to the entrance of the isthmus, between the hills of San José and Monte Sacro (in Antiquity called Aletes and Baal, respectively). During the archaeological excavations were found indications of a fire, possibly during the battle or the looting that followed.

Currently the wall can be visited thanks to the Interpretation Center of the Punic Wall, part of the touristic consortium Cartagena Puerto de Culturas. The building protects the site and recreates their original elevation with contemporary architecture.

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Details

Founded: 3rd century BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Spain

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kanjana T. (2 years ago)
Small interpretation center for the Punic Rampart. The historical video was informative and well made. There was a temporary exhibit with Indiana Jones movie memorabilia which was fun. The exhibits were well curated and really worth the £3,50 entry fee.
Sarah T. (2 years ago)
Small museum that packs a lot of information in your visit. As others have mentioned the video is very informative and the site is well worth a visit.
Tracie Phillips (2 years ago)
Excellent little museum to include with the other attractions in Cartagena. The ticket fee is nominal and they have an excellent video that gives you quick context for the Punic wall and the role of Cartagena in the first Punic war. The crypt is an excellent bonus. Took us about half an hour start to finish.
Berni Albrighton (3 years ago)
Definitely worth a visit. If you are interested in the history of Cartegena and its success in excavation, then this is a good place for you. It explains the history of the wall, why it was built, and the wars that it would have been taking place around it.
Douglas Kerr (3 years ago)
Nice, but there are some more impressive digs nearby.
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