Cartagena Naval Museum
Cartagena Naval Museum is just one of the many historical attractions to be found in this Roman city of old. Cartagena's deep water port has long been one of the most coveted ports on the entire Mediterranean coast. Testimony to this can be seen in the many fortresses and gun batteries that surround the city. Although it still houses an important Spanish naval base, the deep water port now attracts a number of visiting cruise ships. Long time visitors to Cartagena still remember a time when they were greeted in port by the sight of the Isaac Pearl submarine water feature. This iconic and much photographed centrepiece is now displayed in the Cartagena Naval Museum.
Cartagena Naval Museum History
The original Cartagena Naval Museum building has a rather sombre history. It was constructed between 1776 and 1785 as a prison for convicted criminals. These unfortunate prisoners were tasked to endure a life of hard labour, carrying out the construction of other naval buildings in the city. It later became the Cuartel de Instrucción de Marinería. This was used as a location to train young marines joining the Spanish navy between 1946 and 1999. Since then it has been completely modernised by the local architect José Manuel Chacón to create a museum space.
Exploring Cartagena Naval Museum
Cartagena Naval Museum lies at the western end of Muelle de Alfonso XII in the port area of the city. Visitors to the new museum building are greeted by two huge anchors framing the doorway. The various themed areas and exhibits showcasing the history of Cartagena's navy have panels displaying information in both Spanish and English. One such exhibit shows how desperately awful life must have been for the prison labour force who were kept in shackles when not being subject to hard labour. Another interesting area of the museum is the outdoor pavilion that is now home to the Isaac Pearl submarine and other fascinating naval vessels and armaments.