The steady beat of drums, the swift march of soldiers, animal-skin clad barbarians, painted faces, colourful shields, standard bearers, gladiator sandals, dancing maidens, priests, soothsayers and elegant senators. We find ourselves in the midst of the Romans and Carthaginians Festival. This spectacle is held every year to celebrate the vibrant history of the strategic port city of Cartagena.
Cartagena has more than 2000 years of history. The Romans and Carthaginians Festival is a remembrance of the second Punic War, beginning with the foundation of Qart Hadast, the name given to Cartagena by the Phoenicians in 228 BC, and ending with its capture by the Romans in 209 BC.
Throughout the last ten days of September, battles are re-enacted, ancient ceremonies held and troops in full battle dress march through the streets of Cartagena. The Carthaginian and Roman armies arrive by sea in a dramatic display and then march through town to an encampment set up on the football field. We are fortunate to witness this event during an evening I will never forget. The costumes and attention to historic detail are amazing. It was as if all the citizens of Cartagena were in costume. And like everything in Spain, the entire family is involved.
If you ever have an opportunity to be near Cartagena, Spain, at the end of September, you must take in this amazing event that will take you back in time.