The Military Museum of Cartagena was opened as a Museum in 1997 in what, for over 200 years, had been the major headquarters and artillery base in South-East Spain.
It was one of a series of major depots dedicated to the storage of equipment, ammunition, repair and manpower and it played a major part in many of the conflicts dating back to 1786, when the Real Parque de Artillería de Cartagena was first built.
Simply being able to enjoy the architecture itself is worth the visit alone, with it’s beautiful vaulted ceilings, built with brick on spherical pillars, in a simple neo-classical style.
Dr Tony Fuller, a member of the Orihuela Costa and District Branch of The Royal British Legion, is a volunteer guide and researcher at the Museum. Tony also works with the Archivo de Cartagena, where he is helping to record the history of the British in the City, but it was in his capacity as a member of the RBL that he recently put pen to paper to write a brief on the history of the Military Museum, which subsequently appeared in the December edition of the National Magazine.
Seeing the story online, in the virtual edition of the magazine, the Comandante, Juan Antonio Martinez Sanchez, immediately set his sights on procuring copies of the printed edition, which led him, through Dr Fuller, extending an invitation for the magazine editor to visit the Museum.
So with his authorisation to cross community borders in hand, Kevin Reardon drove down to Cartagena where he was afforded celebrity status during a morning which took in a 30 minute meeting with the Comandante and his senior officials, including Col (Retd) Manuel Roca Dorda, the President of the Cultural Association, ‘Amigos del Museo Historico Militar de Cartagena’.
During the meeting, after handing over copies of the RBL Magazine, he was presented with a comprehensive museum guide, which was then followed by a grand tour of the facilities by Col (Ret’d) Antonio Cortinas-Guntin, and a wonderful lunch.
The museum really does display a rich historical and military heritage which, as well as showing a respect for tradition, displays one of the very best collections of small arms, artillery and armoured vehicles in the country.
There are a multitude of side rooms housing displays of by gone battles and conflicts, together with models of Cartagena through the ages, all built by volunteers from the Amigos.
All of the exhibits are displayed in Spanish and English and all of the historical videos have English subtitles. It really is a military treasure trove.
This is undoubtedly a museum that any military buff should visit. It has an extensive and varied content which includes the world’s largest private collection of military models. Entry is free and tours with an English speaking guide are available by prior appointment. Importantly, it is also wheelchair accessible.
The city of Cartagena itself existed as a fortified city as far back as 250 BC, its sheltered port offering protection from the seas and in a strategic trading position which attracted exports from all across the region, so it has been fought over frequently, with the fortifications built throughout the centuries put to good use on many occasions. As might be expected, much of the city legacy can be seen in the military museum.