By visiting the Museum of the Roman Theatre you will encounter one of the most surprising discoveries of the city in the last decades. Thanks to the ingenious design of the architect Rafael Moneo, you will start your tour of the Palace of Riquelme, the first building of the museum, and then follow the historical hallway located under the street to then move to the new space that collects the most emblematic pieces of all found in the excavations. Using modern stairs you will come to the second tunnel, this time is under the medieval church of Santa Maria, a construction superimposed to the old theatre which increases its uniqueness and attraction. After this, the second corridor, will take you to the most relevant part of the museum, the Roman Theatre, one of the largest in the Roman Hispania with capacity for 7,000 people.
Due to the current situation caused by COVID-19, visits are temporarily unavailable.
High season (Holy Week and from 1 May to 30 September)
From Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 20:00 (Holy Week from Tuesday to Sunday)
Sunday from 10:00 to 14:00
Low season (From 1 October to 30 April)
From Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00
Sunday from 10:00 to 14:00
The Roman Theatre Museum is closed on the days:
- On January 1 and 6 and December 25.
- January 5, December 24 and 31 only in the afternoon.
**Groups with prior reservation will be given preference at the entrance.
General ticket: 6€
Reduced ticket: 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.
- Children under the age of 3 years.
- Official tourist guides.
- Members of the Club Cartagena Puerto de Culturas (except for activities).
Estimated duration: 1 hora
Schedule of guided visits:
- High Season and Holy Week
Sunday - 11:00 and 12:00
- Low Season
Sunday - 12:00
*Guided hours are subject to change. Consult at the destination.
Rules for Guided Tours (PDF - 422,33 KB)
Students become researchers for a couple of hours. They'll be looking at the theaters of Ancient Rome: their architecture, costumes, actors, etc. In collaboration with the CPR of Cartagena.
A workshop for school oriented knowledge about the city in the ancient world, from the Carthaginian foundation. The city as a stage of the contest between Carthaginians and Romans. Roman conquest, and one of the most emblematic of the city, the Roman theatre stood up under Augustus buildings.
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 Roman Theatre Museum offers to its visitors with special needs the following facilities:
- All the architectural barriers have been eliminated with the use of escalators and a lift to allow a visit to the museum and the all round view of the archaeological remains.
- Wheelchair loan.
- Special toilets.
- Audio-visuals with sub-titles (Spanish and English) and voice off (Spanish and English) for people with visual and hearing disabilities.
- Workshops for people with visual disabilities.
- Reduced rate to those with disabilities, presenting official proof at the box office.
- Guide dog access allowed with the corresponding accreditation.
Enjoy your visit with the audio-guide provided by the Roman Theatre Museum. Thanks to the new technologies your visit will be in your own time, free and comfortable.
- Rental audio guide is available in 5 languages: Spanish, English, German, French and Russian. Its price is 2'50€.
- Audio guide EGODUCO, an app to download for Android mobile phone in 3 languages, Spanish, English and French. For more information and downloads http://www.teatroromanocartagena.org/audioguias
A guided tour of the Museum of Roman Theatre in Cartagena with virtual reality that allows dive, using virtual glasses in the old building. You can display 360 degree theatre as it was at the time, overfly or see a little pampering at the time. To use this service requires advance purchase. www.cartagenapuertodeculturas.com/actividades
One of the facilities offered by the Museum of the Roman Theatre is the cafeteria-restaurant attached to the building of the museum but with separate access.
The granting of the colonial status (Cologne Urbs Iulia Nova Carthago) in the year 54 BC marked the beginning of an intense process of urban development that would culminate in the reign of Augustus (63 BC. - 14 A.D.). With the new rank gave to the city of all kinds of facilities to meet the needs of an administrative nature, leisure, political, social and religious. Some of the most important constructions of Augustan era and of the 1st century were built such as the great buildings of ancient Rome, the theatre, the emblem of this urban renewal.
This transformation was maintained during the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. Noting that at the end of that last century there was abandonment in the city which affected all private and public buildings, modifying and reducing its space to the port area. It was in this area where there was development of a new urban renewal from the fourth century A.D. to be designated Carthago Nova capital of the province of Carthaginiensis, as part of the restructuring of the empire by Diocletian.
In the museum itinerary great interest has been placed in the historical process that meant the concealment of the Roman theatre until its discovery. After passing through the doors of the museum, the visitor will find the Hallway of History. It explains the urban evolution of the theatre site from the 21st century back to to the first century B.C. a.C., illustrated with a selection of archaeological objects recovered in the excavation as with graphic documentation and audiovisual equipment.
The corridor leads to Room 1 dedicated to the architectonic elements of the Theatre of Cartagena. The height of this hall has made it possible to recreate the façade with the original elements, Corinthian capitals and bases carved in Carrara marble and pink travertine columns, from quarries of the locality of Mula. Next to these items are set out the capitals of the portico of the gardens which in this case are made in local sandstone. The room is presided by the statue of Augustus Togada, which was found in the excavations of the Molinete hill.
Using an escalator leads to the Room 2. This space allows the visitor to go deep into the knowledge of the functions of the theatre in antiquity, because in addition to its role as a recreational theatre building, it was the perfect setting for the political and religious propaganda of the emperor. It also shows the commemorative lintels that crowned the entrance doors. It is known that the theatre was dedicated to the two young princes, Gaius and Lucius Caesar, Augustus' grandchildren and their virtual heirs, who also had to participate in the financing of the building and probably in the choice of their ornamental form. A decorative form loaded with ideological messages which show the introduction of the cults to the traditional gods of the Roman state through three altars where the symbols of the Capitoline Triad, are represented, with carved marble pieces of great excellence from Luni.
Room 2 links with the corridor under the church of Santa María la Vieja, where there is a Roman house with a mosaic which was destroyed with the construction of the theatre, as well as the terracing walls of the early church of the 13th century and other medieval remains.
Dated to the first century B.C., the theatre was located on the slope of one of the highest hills of the city which facilitated the construction of its cavea or stands that in its central part is excavated into the rock of the mount, while the flanks side would be supported by vaulted galleries. The grandstand, with a capacity for 7,000 spectators, is divided into three horizontal sectors (ima, media and summa cavea), which are divided by radial stairs. The lower classes, soldiers and free men sat in the media and summa cavea, accessed through vomitorios or open entrances in the stands. The ima cavea was reserved for the privileged classes; their access was made by two aisles on whose entrance doors were located the lintels dedicated to Lucius and Caio Caesar. From these corridors are accessed to the semicircular space, the orchestra, where were the seats of honour (proedria) reserved to the authorities.
In front of the grandstand is the scenic façade with a floor divided into three exedrae and an elevation of 16 m of height with two floors, in which the combination of the reddish hues of the white columns, capitals and bases, and greys of the podium and entablature create a suggestive chromatic play. Behind the scenes are the gardens formed by a double arcaded gallery around a central garden.
Late in the century III, the building suffered a fire which suggests its ruin and and neglect. Its structure was transformed in the V century into a market, in which subsequently there was installed a Byzantine commercial district, abandoned in about 625 and recovered again as urban plot two centuries later with the Cartagena houses belonging to the Muslim faith. In the 18th and 19th centuries, this whole area was occupied by a humble neighbourhood that over the years had become one of the most depressed and damaged areas of the old town.
The discovery of the Roman Theatre of Cartagena has been one of the most surprising discoveries of the archaeology of the city of these past few years since there were no written references to its existence or archaeological data.
The first excavations were carried out at the site of the former palace of the countess Peralta, destined to house the Regional Crafts Centre in Cartagena. In 1990 the remains were identified as the Roman Theatre and encouraging the transfer of the building initially intended for a new location. The various excavation campaigns were directed by archaeologists Sebastian Ramallo and Elena Ruiz.
From this moment there began a process of recovery, that even with uneven pace, it was activated in 1996 with the signing of a collaboration agreement between the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia, Cartagena Town Hall and the Cajamurcia financial entity.
For the integration of the remains in the urban fabric integral project was commissioned to the architect Rafael Moneo. A project consisting of the museum divided in two buildings and joined by the underground exhibition corridor that leads to incorporate the Paschal Palace of Riquelme, an archaeological corridor under the Church of Santa Maria la Vieja and the last piece of the museum, the theatre. The project also includes the access and urbanization of the surroundings.
The tour of the museums:
- Corridor. History of the Theatre. Explains the development of the site of the theatre from the 21st, century back to the first century.
- Room 1. The architecture of the Theatre. This large room provides the keys needed to understand the architecture of the theatre building through the exhibition of original pieces, in addition to a model and other didactic elements.
- Room 2. The Theatre and Society. This space about the knowledge of the functions of the t heater in antiquity: for leisure, political and religious uses. Here are shown the altars of the Capitoline Triad, and other parts that would form the ornamental program of the theatre.
- Archaeological Corridor. Many diverse archaeological finds where there is a Roman house with its mosaics as well as the walls of the early 12th. Century church and other medieval artefacts.
- Roman Theatre. In its restoration has favoured the recovery of the building as a monument worth visiting for this; the works have been designed to facilitate visits and understanding the building.
- Ramallo Asensio, S.F. y Ruiz Valderas, E., (1998). El teatro romano de Carthago Nova.
- Ramallo Asensio, S.F., Ruiz Valderas, E., Moneo Vallés, R. y Murcia Muñoz, A.J., (2009). Museo del Teatro Romano de Cartagena.
- Ramallo Asensio, S. F., Ruiz Valderas, E., Moneo Vallés, R., (2009). Teatro Romano de Cartagena. Historia de un descubrimiento. Historia de un proyecto.
- Ramallo Asensio, S.F., Ruiz Valderas, E. y Murcia Muñoz, A.J., (2016). "El teatro romano de Cartagena: de la investigación a la puesta en valor". Teatros Romanos de Hispania. Conservación, Restauración y Puesta en Valor, págs. 197-236.