Cultural soul of Colombia

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Spared the worst of the nation’s drug crime, Cartagena is a great beauty with a colonial past. And it’s a city with a vibrant street life.

By Reed Johnson, Times Staff Writer
September 11, 2005

IN the old days, this was a swell place to be a pirate and a terrible place to be a witch. That was back when this wind-scoured Caribbean port was a hub of the Inquisition and the Spanish Empire’s gold trade in the New World.

Between 1610 and 1811, hundreds of sorcerers, blasphemers and other hapless heretics met gruesome fates here. During the same period, bulging Spanish coffers helped pay for the elegant private homes, imposing churches and massive stone walls that make up this bustling city’s historic core. >>Read more

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