Getsemani walking tour

(continuer en français) – Published: December 2, 2020

At the beginning of a stay in Cartagena, the historic centre surrounded by the city walls is the highlight. Then, by repeating the same streets, taking pictures of the same places, although at different angles and exposures, there comes a time when something else becomes a necessity. That’s what Getsemani is there for.

Getsemani is located just outside the old city walls. The area was once inhabited by the working class who served the settlers and later the rich inhabitants of the town. Many were descended from black slaves and struggled to find their place in society, which gave rise to many protest movements whose spirit still lives on in the population today, cultivating its rebellious particularism.

The houses are therefore more modest, but nevertheless have some colonial touches that make up the charm of Cartagena.

Arriving from the Clock Tower Gate you pass by a section of the harbour and the modern conference centre. In Getsemani’s main thoroughfares, the speed and scale of the traffic is surprising after the narrow streets of the old town with its slow traffic. The first facades show a definite resemblance to the mansions of the fortified town, with pretty wooden balconies on the upper floors, which are covered with climbing plants, the bougainvilleas.

Then, as you walk down the narrow streets, the atmosphere changes, the houses become even more modest, gaining in colour what they lose in height. They are passageways for pedestrians much more than for cars.

The colours eventually explode into multiple murals covering both the house façades and the blind walls. Murals intended as an attraction to draw visitors into the neighbourhood.

To match this artistic atmosphere, several artists’ studios spill over onto the pavements and neighbouring walls to display their works in the hope of selling them to passing visitors. This gives a bohemian feel to the place, which is only just beginning to be tainted by mercantile opportunism.

Over time, restaurants and hotels have settled in the main streets of Getsemani. In recent years most of the dwellings seem to be turning into hostels offering attractive prices compared to the soaring prices in the old town. However, one must be aware that at nightfall, the alleys are less frequented and darkness can quickly become intimidating.

This evolution of Getsemani is accompanied by the beginning of gentrification which the inhabitants have long tried to resist by avoiding the tourist infrastructures coming from investors from outside the area.

You have to come for a walk in Getsemani, get lost for a while in the small streets that never go far, discover an old door or an elegant facade, not to mention the murals with their ever-renewed imagination.

Given the fashions that now motivate some travellers, some streets have gained greater fame, such as Calle 9 from Plaza Santísima Trinidad, which has become an obligatory part of the selfie route. Locally, there may be a higher density of visitors, while the nearby streets remain unknown to the majority of people.

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23 comments

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. Cartagena and its Getsemani district are very photogenic places, it is a pleasure to walk around there and try to find angles by playing with colours and shadows too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • There is a lot of charm in Cartagena, apart from the influx of tourists. The old town makes up a beautiful example of the Spanish colonial style and the Getsemani district is a little more relaxed.

      Like

  1. I’ve been to Cartagena twice, day stops on cruises. As a result, I’ve spent most of my time there inside the walls of the old city. We rode on a small tour bus from the cruise terminal and I was impressed with the skill of the driver of that large vehicle negotiating heavy traffic on narrow streets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I saw these buses while visiting Cartagena, on a stopover it gives you an idea of the city. It’s an interesting city to photograph, the narrowness of the streets and the change of sunshine make you look for angles and the right moment. The houses are pretty and well maintained.

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    • You raise an interesting point, beyond the historical and architectural interest of the city, a lot of efforts are made to attract tourists. Part of the colours, balconies and plants are therefore motivated by this. But all in all it is true that the atmosphere is pleasant for the visitors.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The old town of Cartagena and Getsemani are two very different atmospheres, on a stay of several days it is good to take advantage of these two moments. I hope you will be able to return one day and see more. Thank you for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

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