Unquestionably romantic by nature, the narrow, ancient streets of Cartagena de Indias vibrate with colour and life.
Nestled on Colombia’s breezy northern coast, the magic of Cartagena lies in its massive fortifications, the warmth of the people, the richness of its architecture and the infinite range of its cultural expression.
A breathtaking beauty and a world-class line-up on cultural events make the city a Mecca for the most prominent writers, musicians, filmmakers and actors.
The International Classical Music Festival, the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts or the Film Festival are just some of the examples that have allowed Cartagena to position itself as a rendezvous for the greatest international artists.
Hurrah For The Hay Festival
Cartagena’s Hay Festival is rooted in the Welsh book town of Hay-on-Wye. In addition to Colombia, there are now Hay Festivals in Bangladesh, Kenya, Ireland, Lebanon, Mexico and Spain, as well as at home in Wales.
Every year in January, Cartagena’s Hay Festival brings together the greatest lecturers of literature, film, journalism, music and arts. This four-day event is a celebration of ideas, thinkers and creators alike.
Considered to be one of the most important cultural festivals in the Hispanic world, the streets of Cartagena come to life during the festival with lectures from international writers, cultural shows, concerts and workshops, as well as a special space designed for children in the traditional Hay Festivalito.
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The Oldest Film Festival In Latin America
Since 1960, Cartagena’s film festival has transformed the city into a showcase for cultural and Latin American identity each March. There are free screenings across the city as Cartagena soaks up the very best Latin American audiovisual works.
This is the only festival in the region that specializes in Ibero-American movies. It has a top international jury and encourages the presentation of cultural expressions of Latin American identity through film. It is a true audio-visual showcase of countries in the region.
Music Fills The Air
Each March, music floats on the air in city’s quaint cobbled streets during the Cartagena International Music Festival.
According to Julia Salvi, president of the Foundation Salvi, the festival emerged after she visited the city with her husband, Victor Salvi. The architectural features of Cartagena, its churches, streets and Adolfo Mejia Theatre, convinced this musical couple of the opportunity to put together an annual classical music event.
The festival has seen the presence of prominent figures in the world of classical music, including Charles Wardsworth, composer, pianist and founder of the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center in New York.
"Being here in my festival is undoubtedly one of the most enriching moments in my life," said Wardsworth upon completion of the first version of the event.
In addition to the concerts in the most magical places in Cartagena, the festival brings music to the least privileged neighbourhoods of the city, where most of its inhabitants do not have a means of access to the concerts of the walled city.
Eddy Milfort via Flickr/eddymilfort (CC by 2.0) - Edited
The Voces del Jazz Festival is a feast of musical and cultural performances that takes place over two weekends at the end of July and the beginning of August.
In addition to the formal concerts in the Cartagena Convention Center, the city itself is transformed into a giant stage with improvised musical performances across all genres and a host of workshops for children and developing artists. There will also be strumming and drumming sessions in far-flung centres of traditional African rhythms, like Palenque.
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