Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Old Walled City

The old walled city of Cartagena is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Don’t get me going on how UNESCO is blowing the value of their brand by applying it to so many places and things. Like to traditional Japanese or Mexican cuisine.  The walled city deserves the recognition. It reminds of a much larger and in some ways less touristy version of Antigua in Guatemala.  If you are into photography , you could take pictures on every corner for weeks on end and not get bored.cartegenaIMG_6165
Lots of 16th and 17th century churches, government buildings and just plain houses.
cartegenaIMG_6167 Locals use the plazas, restaurants and stores. This is a preacher and what appears to be parishioners quaking in one of the plazas.
cartegenaIMG_6171  Chris gazing over one of the interior courtyards of a colonial building.
Street after street of colonial and republic buildings. Colonial being the buildings put up during Spanish rule (1533-1717) and Republic after the independence of Cartagena (Nov. 11, 1811). That’s 11-11-11. The same day they do the country’s beauty pageant every year.
cartegenaIMG_6182 We took a detour into the museum of the Spanish Inquisition, the building where they actually held the inquisitions in Cartagena. Chris really liked the bruja section – witches. The seat above is where the accused witches were strapped in and a metal screw was slowly twisted into the base of the neck, until the unfortunate ‘witch’ confessed.
They also used simpler methods to determine if a woman was a witch. Weighing was effective. If they were too light, then they could fly and were clearly a witch. If they were too heavy, then they were full of sin and were also clearly a witch. No wonder women are so obsessed with their weight.
cartegenaIMG_6185 Here is a list of questions that helped the Inquisitors determine if a women was a witch. A few sample questions:
1. How long have you been a witch?
6. What is the name of your master amongst the evil spirits?
11. What demons and people attended your wedding?
22. To which children have you cast the curse of the ‘evil eye’ and why did you do it?
25. Why does the devil strike you blows at night?
27. How can you fly through the sky?
31. What worms and caterpillars/slugs have you created?
33. Has the devil put a bow/ribbon to your curses/oaths?
Now really, how many people could pass this test today without a lawyer?
cartegenaIMG_6186 Makings for a witches brew.
A machine for getting to the truth or painfully crushing the skull.
cartegnaIMG_6189 Not sure how you are supposed to confess with this on your neck. I guess it didn’t really matter.
Only the lucky ones got it over quickly.
Testing out the guillotine. Not sure why this was here, as I thought it was a particularly French instrument. Turns out its been used by many countries, even East Germany in an official execution in 1966. Either way, Chris gave me a reprieve when I promised not to create any more worms and caterpillars.
cartegenaIMG_6202 Here is a tile plaque excusing the Inquisition as not that bad and an artifact of the times that suffers from exaggeration. Argh!
Those that forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.
cartegenaIMG_6199 Building plaque at the palace of the Inquisitors
Meanwhile, on the commerce side, this chest used for carrying gold and other treasures back to Spain was seriously built of iron strapping and rivets. It would be tough to get into even with today's tools.
Bill working on lunch.
And lunch itself. Fried plantain with good stuff on top.  
OK, I forgot this famous Colombian sculptor’s name. But he liked big women.
Can you guess what time it is?
Patina on old building wall.
Smiling fruit lady and local policia.

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