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  • Punic Wall
    The Saint Joseph Crypt
  • Punic Wall
    The wall remains
  • Punic Wall
    The exhibition room

Punic Wall  Punic Wall

In the Punic Wall you will encounter one of the most important episodes in the history of the Mediterranean, the Punic Wars between the Carthaginians and the Romans. You will meet the legendary past of Qart Hadast founded by the general Hasdrubal in 229 BC and its most significant, the wall, one of the few remaining Carthaginian relics still found in Spain.

In addition, next to the wall, you can see the funerary crypt of the hermitage of San Jose built in the 16th and 17th centuries. Its walls offer a very macabre representation of the Dances of Death.

General ticket: 3’5€

Reduced ticket: 2’5€
*Purchase on-line, Minors under the age of 12 years, Students up to 25 years, Youth and Youth +, Unemployed, Pensioners, Disabled persons, Family (2 or more adults + 2 or more children under the age of 12 years), Large family and groups of more than 20 people. 

Free entrance: 

  • Children under the age of 3 years.
  • Official tourist guides.
  • Members of the Club Cartagena Puerto de Culturas (except for activities).
*In order to benefit from the free entry rate, visitors must show current valid documents.

  ON-LINE PURCHASE

Estimated duration: 30 minutes

Schedule of guided visits:

  • High Season
          11:00, 12:00 and 17:30  
 
  • Mid Season 
          11:00, 12:00 and 17:30
 
  • Low Season
          11:00 and 16:00

*Guided tours hours are subject to change. Consult at the destination.

  Rules for Guided Tours (PDF - 422,33 KB)

There are no activities scheduled for this museum

Discover Qart Hadast

We journey back to the early days of Cartagena to find out who Hasdrubal, Hannibal and Scipio the African were and what the city was like during the Punic era

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From Qart Hadast to Carthago Nova

A perfect workshop to review the history of ancient Cartagena from the founding by the Carthaginians to the splendor of the Roman period. In collaboration with the CPR of Cartagena.

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Attack

Learn about the evolution of the fortresses of Cartagena and what weapons were used by the armies that defended the city throughout its history. Carried out in collaboration with the CPR of Cartagena.

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Accessibility

Tourism for all is one of the primary objectives of the Cartagena Puerto de Culturas. We are working to ensure access to the largest number of visitors. At present, the Punic Wall offers to its visitors with special needs the following facilities:

  • All the architectural barriers have been removed using ramps, glass floors and balconies to allow all round vision of the architectural remains from the top floor.
  • Special toilets.
  • Audio-visual with sub-titles (Spanish and English) and voice off (Spanish and English) for people with visual and hearing disabilities.
  • Reduced rate to those with disabilities, presenting official proof at the tickets desk.
  • Guide dog access allowed with the corresponding accreditation.
Audio guides

Enjoy your visit with the audio-guide provided by the Punic Wall. Thanks to the new technologies your visit will be in your own time, free and comfortable. The audio guide is available in 4 languages: Spanish, English,French and Russian. Its price is 2'50€.

Historical context 

Literary and archaeological sources put the Carthaginians in the Peninsula and the Balearic Islands as from the 6th century BC. This early Punic presence is related more with trade matters, than with colonization itself. The final occupation occurred with the arrival of the Barquidas in the 3rd century BC after the defeat of Carthage by Rome in the First Punic War.

In this context is the Punic city of Cartagena. It was founded by Hasdrubal in 229 B.C., with the name of Qart Hadast - whose meaning is "new city" - over a previous settlement, possibly Ibero. The Greek writer Polybius (X, 10), carried out a magnificent Qart Hadast topographic description on the occasion of the assault by the Roman general Scipio Africanus. The city soon became the administrative and political capital, weapons and supply store and, above all, at the base of operations and winter barracks of the armies. The place offered numerous advantages for their interests: the mines for the exploitation of their precious minerals, silver and lead, the espartograss fields for the manufacture of textile products and marine gear, the salt pans for the trade of salt and salted fish. 

The occupation of Carthage lasted only twenty years. In 209 B.C. the city was attacked and conquered by the Roman armies under the command of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus. The attack occurred on all fronts, sea and land, but it was carried out from the inner lagoon iwhich gave victory to the Romans since the area was undefended. After two days of siege the city had to surrender. The Roman army won a large booty.

Punic Wall

Polybius in his Universal History referred to the impressive scale of the wall and to the continual attacks of the Roman troops at the same point where it was located. It would be located in the isthmus of the old peninsula of Cartagena, between the hills of San Jose and Despeñaperros, where the gateway to the city was to be found. It was built after the foundation of Qart-Hadast by Hasdrubal and, apparently, reused by the Romans just after its occupation and later being abandoned.

It is a Greek type of casemated fortification, composed of two parallel walls of about 10 meters in height. It is organized in 3 heights, the first two of casemates and the last one that would correspond to an adarve or narrow defensive corridor. For its construction blocks of local sandstonewere used for the facing wall and, sandstone and adobe for the interior. Everything would be plastered with white stucco to protect it from the weather but at the same time to give a colourful appearance. Between the two walls were the casemates or inner rooms that were used as accommodation for the troops and as a store of supplies and weapons. Supposedly, the cover was made of mud and plant fabric and was supported by thick wooden beams. The remains found have a length of 30 metre, and in some points there have been rows of blocks with a height of about 3 metres. 

Crypt of the Ermita de San José

During the excavations of the Carthaginian walls a burial crypt was also found, belonging the hermitage of San Jose which was reserved for the burials of the members of the Confraternity of San Jose. It has an elliptical shape with a niche as an altar for the picture of the the patron at one end an access ladder at the other end. Probably a vault covered the space. In the two side walls there are distributed 110 niches characterized by being elongated, with narrowing toward the inside and very narrow. The corpses were deposited in wooden coffins and with funerary offerings comprising medals of saints or rings, among other jewellery. 

Apparently they were used on several occasions according to the pictorial decoration. In a first use were black lines to frame the opening and numbered for identification of the burial; and in a second phase, the paintings with the theme of the dance of death, that is to say, skeletons dancing on sarcophagi and attributes of the religious, political and social rights, in a clear reference to the triumph of death without distinction of classes, with a moralistic and didactic nature. These paintings must have been made at the beginning of the 19th century, moment at the end of the funeral use, as a law that sanctioned the intramural burials, in churches and chapels came into effect. The church continued to be used until the earthquake of 1829 seriously affected the structures with all traces vanishing a few years later. 

Exploitation

The construction of a parking in the patio of the old "La Milagrosa" Hogar-Escuela in 1987 brought about both discoveries. The management of the excavation was carried out by Carmen Marin Baño and Miguel Martin Camino.

After its discovery the remains were protected from the weather by a cover until 2003, the year in which the final architectural project was carried out. The project, awarded in the contest by Cartagena Port of Cultures to the architects José Manuel Chacon and Alberto Ibero, contemplates an interrelationship between container and content, that is to say, the building recreates the dimensions of the wall by facilitating the reading of the remains. This intervention also involves the preparation of the access to the centre via ramps, stairs and a garden area.

The tour of the museum:

  • Audiovisual. 3D re-creation that gives an insight to life in Cartagena during the 3rd century BC. The video was made by the Integra Foundation.
  • Exhibition Room. A series of panels explain the Punic world, the foundation of the city of Qart-Hadast By Hasdrubal in 229 BC and the subsequent conquest by the Roman General Publius Cornelius Scipio in 209 BC.
  • The wall. These are the oldest remains which can be visited in the city.
  • The crypt. It was built for the Confraternity of St. Joseph, with the members buried in the 110 niches. It was decorated with paintings whose subject is the "Dance of death" very much in vogue at that time.
  • The showcases. Six glass cabinets that show pieces found in the excavations, among which the Iberian fibulae, a Carthaginian votive offering, Phoenician and Roman coins, and the funerary offerings. 
Bibliography
 
  • Martín Camino, M. (2008). "Obsesión por "lo púnico": un enfoque histórico de Qart Hadast desde una perspectiva historiográfica". Cartagena Histórica 25, págs. 62-73.
  • Martín Camino, M. (2010). "Si quaeris miracula": la Muralla Púnica de la Casa de Misericordia (Cartagena) y la metamorfosis urbana del espacio del cerro de San José en la historiografía moderna". Mastia 9, págs. 79-109.
  • Martín Camino, M. y Belmonte Marín, J. (1993). "La muralla púnica de Cartagena: valoración arqueológica y análisis epigráfico de sus materiales". Aula Orientalis 11.2, págs. 161-171.
  • Noguera Celdrán, J.M. (2013). "Qart Hadast, capital bárquida de Iberia". Catálogo exposición temporal Fragor Hannibalis, Aníbal en Hispania, págs. 135-173.
  • Ruíz Valderas, E. y Madrid Balanza M.J. (2004). Las murallas de Cartagena en la antigüedad. Estudio y catalogación de las defensas de Cartagena y su bahía. Proyecto "Puertos antiguos del Mediterráneo", págs. 19-84.
  • Vallalta Martínez, P., Berrocal Caparrós, M.C., Hernández-Henarejos Jiménez, D. y López Rosique, C. (2007). "Cripta de la ermita de San José en Cartagena. Restauración de los nichos y las pinturas murales". Revista Mastia 6, págs. 145-163.
  • VV.AA. (2012). Cartagena Puerto de Culturas. Convirtiendo el pasado en futuro.



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