Fodor's Expert Review Las Murallas
Cartagena survived only because of its walls, and its murallas remain today the city's most distinctive feature, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that draws visitors to the historic and well-preserved city center full of plazas, shops, and diversions. Repeated sacking by pirates and foreign invaders convinced the Spaniards of the need to enclose the region's most important port. Construction began in 1600 and finished in 1796. The Puerta del Reloj is the principal gate to the innermost sector of the walled city. Its four-sided clock tower was a relatively late addition (1888), and has become the symbol of the city. Walking along the thick walls (you can enter at many points, and there are overpriced bars in some parts) is one of Cartagena's time-honored pastimes, especially late in the afternoon when you can watch the setting sun redden the Caribbean.