Cartagena’s Churches

Saint Pedro Claver Church

Saint Pedro Claver Church is a beautiful church named after monk, Pedro Claver, who grew up in Spain but moved to Cartagena.  The locals refer to Pedro as ‘the slave of slaves’ as he spent most of his life caring for the slaves through growing medical herbs to help wounded, sick and dying slaves while also helping them with food and water. Pedro Claver is well known in both Cartagena and Colombia for his life work.

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The day we were in Cartagena, the church was closed as they were setting up for the last night of a classical musical festival held outside the church.   There is an adjoining church that houses in a bronze and glass case Pedro Claver’s bones.  There is a museum where you can visit the cell where Claver lived and died.  The museum signage is all in Spanish, but apparently there are local English speaking guides available at a reasonable price.

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There is also a statue just near the church of Pedro and a slave he bought.  He actually bought the slave, because Pedro couldn’t communicate with the African slaves, so his slave translated for him.  Pedro didn’t treat him like a slave.

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Unfortunately Pedro was also inflicted during an epidemic and suffered paralysis and a long, slow death after four years of decline.  He had an ex-slave tend to him, that abused and neglected him, but apparently Claver did not complain as he felt it was punishment for his sins.  A horrible death for a man who helped so many, regardless of whether they suffered leprosy or any other disease, he willingly helped.

Tourist Information on Saint Pedro Claver Church

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday – 8 am – 6 pm, Saturday and Sunday – 8 am – 6 pm

Cost: The museum is Adults – $12 000, Children – $8 000

A guide should cost about $35 000 in English for up to 7 people

Official Website:

A website with a very detailed biography on Pedro can be found here:

Researched and written by Ava

Iglesia de Santo Domingo

We visited the exterior of Iglesia de Santo Domingo.  It is the oldest church in Cartagena.  It was built in 1533 of straw but fire burned it down. It was rebuilt but then attacked by Sir Francis Drake in 1586 but repaired in 1588.

Inside the church is an image of Jesus on a cross and the Virgin Mary with a crown with gold and emeralds.  I think the church was quite interesting and beautiful.

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Tourist Information on Iglesia de Santo Domingo

Opening Hours: 12 pm – 8 pm

Cost: Adult – $12 000, Child – 8 000

Researched and written by Ava

Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica (Cathedral de Cartagena)

The construction of the Cathedral de Cartagena began in 1575, but was damaged before completion by cannons, when Francis Drake attacked in 1586.  The cathedral was finally completed in 1612.  it is now being renovation and will be able to open in 2019. The cathedral is beautifully lit up at night too, the cathedral was also made for the Holy Virgin Mary.

Emile Charles Carre designed the cathedral and made it a Romanesque style. The amount of bricks that were used even after it had been damaged was 1 120 000 bricks. The Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica also has a little museum of religious arts and crafts. Even though we didn’t get to go into the cathedral we could look at it from outside.

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Researched and written by Ava


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