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  • Christmas Fort
    Fort Christmas
  • Christmas Fort
    Miniature model of the fort
  • Christmas Fort
    Gun powder

Christmas Fort  Christmas Fort

Certificado 'Safe Tourism Certified' Visitors to the Fuerte de Navidad can find out in detail about the defensive system of Cartagena throughout history. Enrol as a cabin boy on the Tourist Boat and visit the only coastal battery to have been adapted to show the everyday life of military men in a 19th century fortress. Nestled on the right-hand margin of the bay and next to the lighthouse of the same name, the Fuerte de Navidad has been witness to the political, social and military conflicts of recent centuries.

Explore the casemate bunkers, learn how to handle a cannon and find out how the artillerymen ate and relaxed, and round your visit off by enjoying the magnificent views from the terrace and winding down on the return journey aboard the Tourist Boat.


General: 3.50€
General including travel on the Tourist Boat: 8 euros.

Reduced: 2.50€
Reduced including travel on the Tourist Boat: 6 euros.

*Online bookings, under 12s, students up to 25 years old, Carné Joven and Carné Joven + holders, unemployed, pensioners, retirees, disabled, large families (2 or more adults + 2 or more children aged under 12), “familia numerosa” card holders and groups of 20 or more.

Free entry:

  • Children aged under 3.
  • Official tourist guides.
  • Members of the Club Cartagena Puerto de Culturas (except activities).
*To benefit from the reduced admission fee it is necessary to show current valid documentation.

  ON-LINE PURCHASE


Approximate duration: 30 minutes

Timetable:

  • High season
Tuesday to Saturday 11.15, 12.15, 13.15, 16.45 and 17.45
Sunday 11.15, 12.15 and 13.15
 
  • Mid-season
Tuesday to Saturday 11.15, 12.15, 13.15 and 14.15
Sunday 11.15, 12.15 and 13.15
 
  • Low season
Tuesday to Friday 11.15 and 12.15
Saturday and Sunday 11.15, 12.15, 13.15 and 14.15
 

*These timetables are subject to modification: please consult before planning a visit.



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

Cartagena has a plan. Getaways with accommodation and museums

Cartagena has a Plan is the new way to visit the city during more than one day as a couple or as a family. A getaway that includes accommodation in a hotel, hostel, tourist apartments, camping and rural houses along with  tickets to museums of Cartagena Puerto de Culturas.Three, four, five-star and family plans ranging from 75 euros to 199. A perfect plan to discover all the treasures of Cartagena which the tourist will have to choose.

More Information

 

4 star plan. NH Cartagena Hotel (2 nights, 2 people) + "Complete Cartagena" tour

Two nights for two people at the NH Cartagena 4-star hotel and two passes for two people "Complete Cartagena". Includes visits to the Punic Wall, Panoramic Elevator, Concepción Castle, Augusteum, Roman Theater Museum, Casa de la Fortuna, Roman Forum Quarter, Christmas Fort and Civil War Refuge Museum. In addition to the tour by Bus and Tourist Boat. Price 120 euros .

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4 star plan. Hotel Sercotel Alfonso XIII (2 nights, 2 people) + "Complete Cartagena" tour

Two nights for two people at the 4-star Sercotel Alfonso XIII hotel and two passes for two people "Complete Cartagena". Includes visits to the Punic Wall, Panoramic Elevator, Concepción Castle, Augusteum, Roman Theater Museum, Casa de la Fortuna, Roman Forum Quarter, Christmas Fort and Civil War Refuge Museum. In addition to the tour by Bus and Tourist Boat. Price 120 euros .

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Plan 4 stars coast. Hotel & Spa Entremares (2 nights, 2 people) + "Complete Cartagena" tour

Two nights for two people at the 4-star Hotel & Spa Entremares and two passes for two people "Complete Cartagena". Includes visits to the Punic Wall, Panoramic Elevator, Concepción Castle, Augusteum, Roman Theater Museum, Casa de la Fortuna, Roman Forum Quarter, Christmas Fort and Civil War Refuge Museum. In addition to the tour by Bus and Tourist Boat. Price 135 euros .

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Attack on Christmas Fort

We'll take the children around the bay of Cartagena in our tour boat to access the Christmas Fort. Here, by completing various tests, they'll learn the strategic and military importance of Cartagena. 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 main objectives of Cartagena Puerto de Culturas. We are working to ensure access for as many visitors as possible. At present, the Fuerte de Navidad offers the following facilities for visitors with special needs:

  • Architectural barriers have been removed by the installation of ramps and a lift.
  • Adapted toilets.
  • Audio-visual with voiceover in Spanish and subtitles in English for people with hearing disabilities and impaired vision.
  • Audio-visuals with subtitles in English and Spanish for those with impaired hearing.
  • Reduced rate for those with disabilities, presenting official proof at the box office.
  • Guide dog access is allowed with the corresponding accreditation.

Audio guides

Enjoy your visit with the audio guides provided by the Fuerte de Navidad. Courtesy of new technology you can visit freely and comfortably at your own pace. The audio guide is available in 4 languages: Spanish, English, French and Russian, and costs 2 euros.

Refreshments

There are vending machines at the Fuerte de Navidad selling cold drinks and snacks.

Historical context 


Cartagena’s great importance as a military city dates back to the end of the 17th century, when, under the reign of Charles II, it became the winter base of the galley ship squadron. The immediate result was the construction of four defences around the mouth of the port that ensured that ships were protected: the Podadera and the Fuerte de Navidad on the right-hand side and Trincabotijas and Santa Ana on the left.

During the War of the Spanish Succession the stronghold was occupied by the English fighting on behalf of the pretender to the Spanish throne, Archduke Charles of Austria, although their occupation lasted only five months before the Duke of Berwick recovered it for Felipe V. It was under Felipe that Cartagena became the seat of the Maritime Department of the Mediterranean (1726); the awarding of this status led to the further consolidation of the city as a military base in the Mediterranean and was a turning point in the city’s history. This process of consolidation took place during the second half of the 18th century under King Carlos III with the construction of the principal military works of the city: the Arsenal, the Military Hospital, the walls and the fortifications of Galeras, Atalayas, San Julián and Moros.

In the 19th century Spain was mired in many wars and battles and the stronghold of Cartagena was heavily involved, especially in the Cantonal War (1873). The port and its defences were transformed, above all due to technological advances which brought with them a thorough renewal of the fortification systems. It was in this context that the O'Donnell Plan of 1860 was undertaken, including the renovation of the Fuerte de Navidad and other gun batteries belonging to the city.

The Fuerte de Navidad

The origin of the Fuerte de Navidad was the initial 17th-century construction of a small four-piece artillery platform. Its position meant that the line of fire crossed with that of the battery of Santa Ana, which, along with the batteries of Trincabotijas and Podadera, defended the entrance to the port. In the 19th century a new building was created, improving the defences of the old fortification: but technological advances soon rendered it obsolete in military terms and therefore in the early 20th century, it became the gun saluting battery of the port of Cartagena and remained in operation until 1941, when the last garrison departed.

It was designed by Spanish military engineers in the neoclassical style and equipped with casemates. The angular building forms a curve with the open side looking out to sea and is organized around a patio-corridor which gave access to the eight casemates, each of which contained an artillery piece. To protect them from the impact of projectiles a method known as bomb proof vaulting was employed: that is, above the vaults earth and stones were piled to a thickness of more than two metres. At the apex of the angle was the powder store, which contained stocks of gunpowder and the shells for the guns. The firepower was completed with nine other pieces located on the terrace, which were accessed via two spiral staircases. In the rear of the fortress were the other rooms used in the everyday life of the garrison of the fort, with kitchens, latrines and barracks.

Exploitation of the site

The restoration of the Fuerte de Navidad was the first in any element of the defence system of the Bay of Cartagena defence system. The fortress was left neglected until 2004, when the Ministry of Defence ceded it to the Town Hall of Cartagena Town Hall for use in tourism on condition that it should be restored. The restoration project began in 2004, based on a master plan for the entire bay, and was completed in 2007. Architects Francisco Javier Lopez and Ricardo Sanchez were commissioned to oversee the work.

During the restoration phase a thorough search of documentation was performed to establish the different historical phases and research and archaeological were conducted by José Antonio Martínez and David Munuera.

All of these actions were combined under the management of Cartagena Puerto de Culturas and culminated in the opening to the public of the Fuerte de Navidad in 2007.

The tour of the museum:

  • Casemate 1. Reception and souvenir shop.
  • Casemate 2. The port of Cartagena. A large model depicts the port and its defences in the 19th century.
  • Casemate 3. Defensive systems of the port of Cartagena. A summary of the gun batteries and fortresses of the city and its coastline over the course of the centuries.
  • Casemate 5. The Fuerte de Navidad. An audio visual showing the building and its history.
  • Casemate 6. The artillery. An original 19th-century cannon provides the key to understanding the artillery of the age.
  • Casemate 7. History and architecture. Models and information panels show the architecture of the fortress during its various renovations.
  • Casemate 8. Everyday life. Illustrations of day-to-day life in the fortress are provided by the recreation of an officer’s office, the artillery uniform, original items found during the excavation and the original outer gate.
  • Latrines. Good example of the sanitary facilities and hygiene conditions of the time.
  • Kitchen. Contains small hearths and a storehouse, for cooking and preserving the meagre food supplies of the troops.
  • Barracks. A room of audio-visual displays and temporary exhibitions. A video shows aerial photographs of the coastline and the defensive systems which existed between the 16th and the 20th centuries.
Bibliography
  • Gómez Vizcaino, A. (2003). Castillos y fortalezas de Cartagena. Excmo. Ayuntamiento de Cartagena.
  • Martínez López, J.A. (2008). El fuerte de Navidad en el contexto del sistema defensivo del puerto de Cartagena. Tesis doctoral. Universidad de Murcia.
  • Martínez López, J.A. y Munuera Navarro, D. (2009). Álbum fotográfico de los fuertes y baterías del puerto de Cartagena (1901).
  • Santaella Pascual, F. (2006). La Artillería en la Defensa de Cartagena y su Base Naval. Desde los orígenes al Plan Vickers de 1926. Editorial Áglaya.
  • VV.AA. (2004). Estudio y catalogación de las defensas de Cartagena y su bahía. Proyecto “Puertos antiguos del Mediterráneo”.
  • VV.AA. (2012). Cartagena Puerto de Culturas. Convirtiendo el pasado en futuro.



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