Cartagena is in the Murcia region of Spain.
Cartagena is the main Seaport of the
. Cartagena concentrates an artistic legacy that summarizes almost three millennia of Spanish History, being inhabited by most great Mediterranean Empires that have conquered the Iberian Peninsula sometime. Cartagena is a city full of monuments, with many archeological sites and outstanding buildings of historical interest, together with the charm of the sea and the typical bustle of a port city.
Dirty and very polluted in the past (due to the nearby Refinery), the new redevelopments (like the initiative "Cartagena, Port of Culture") and restorations have turned it into a major tourist destination and is a frequent disembarkation point for numerous cruises. Its wide municipal territory also includes part of the famous holiday resort
part of the Mar Menor
coast and several protected areas of natural beauty near the coast.
Cartagena has been inhabited for over two millennia, being founded around 227 BC by the Carthaginian Hasdrubal the Fair as Qart Hadasht, the same name as the original city of Carthage. The city had its heyday during the Roman Empire when it was known as Carthago Nova (the New Carthage) and Carthago Spartaria, capital of the province of Carthaginensis. It was one of the important cities during the Umayyad invasion of Hispania, under its Arabic name of Qartayannat al-Halfa.
Much of the historical weight of Cartagena in the past goes to its coveted defensive port, one of the most important in the western Mediterranean. Cartagena has been the capital of the Spanish Navy's Maritime Department of the Mediterranean since the arrival of the Spanish Bourbons in the 18th century. As far back as the 16th century, it was one of the most important naval ports in Spain, together with Ferrol in the North. It is still an important naval seaport, the main military haven of Spain, and is home to a large naval shipyard.
The confluence of civilizations as well as its strategic harbor, together with the rise of the local mining industry is manifested by a unique artistic heritage, with a number of landmarks such as the Roman Theatre, the second largest of the Iberian Peninsula after the one in Mérida, an abundance of Phoenician, Roman, Byzantine, and Moorish remains, and a plethora of Art Nouveau buildings, a result of the bourgeoisie from the early 20th century. Cartagena is now established as a major cruise ship destination in the Mediterranean and an emerging cultural focus.
Cartagena has a hot semi-arid climate. Its location near the ocean moderates the temperature and annual precipitation typically does not surpass 300 mm (12 in). The annual average temperature goes up to around 20.4 °C (69 °F), making it—for the year 2014–the warmest city in Europe. The coldest month is January, with an average temperature of 13.7 °C (57 °F). In August, the warmest month, the average temperature is 28.7 °C (84 °F). The wind is an important climatic factor in the region.