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“Beautiful building but tough to follow without guide”

Museo Historico de Cartagena de Indias
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$127.00*
and up
Cartagena City Tour
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$85.50*
and up
Cartagena City Tour: History, Culture and UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Ranked #33 of 199 things to do in Cartagena
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: This site is now a museum focusing on Cartagena's role in the Spanish Inquisition.
Reviewed April 27, 2013

In retrospect, we probably should have hired an English language guide to take us through this building. The exhibits had very little in the way of English-language descriptions and the guide sheet given to us was of little help. On the positive side, the building is magnificent, and so even without knowing what all of the exhibits contained, we enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the rambling building. Based on our experience, you may wish to hire a guide.

Thank GRC_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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342 - 346 of 1,616 reviews

Reviewed April 17, 2013

OK, so I'm biased. I went to the Palacio, knowing the name, and did it without thinking. The display of instruments of torture was significant. I was both a bit fascinated and thoroughly repulsed. The thought of the torture inflicted by these instruments was disturbing. However, they were a part of history and displayed well. Some areas of the museum have titles and descriptions in English. Others do not. The one saving grace of this place is they did not portray people being tortured and left that to your imagination.
Upstairs, there is art on display, though some was on a temporary exhibition. The other rooms display some history of the buildings and construction. If I had it to do again, I would skip this museum altogether.

2  Thank sculptor-for-fun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2013

I walked into this place with an interest in learning more about how the Spanish Inquisition went down in the Americas, but I was in for a surprise. Not only was the architecture fascinating and beautiful in this building, but also there was a bonus art exhibit on the top floor -a good one too.

Heads up -make sure you visit with a person who speaks Spanish if you do not yourself, because most of the information available is only written in Spanish, and when it is translated, it's not complete. Also, keep in mind that there are no official tours of this museum, but if you are interested, there are usually people waiting for you in the courtyard to provide personal tours for a fee... though I wonder at the accuracy of the information provided -given that they are not official tour guides.

1  Thank Adam0926
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2013

A great place to learn about the intertwined religious and racial histories of Cartagena de las Indias. The Inquisition displays are best paired with the Museo Historico de Cartagena exhibits on the history of the city in the rooms of the top floor. Ticket price includes admission for both - general admission is 15,000 COP, students 10,000 COP.

The bottom floors are dedicated to the Inquisition proper. The text (almost all in Spanish) for the torture instruments is detailed but shortchanges the historical context. The point is made that most of the instrumens were not used in Cartagena itself. Hire a guide if you don't know Spanish or if you'd like to know more about how the Inquisition disproportionately targeted the female and racially non-white residents of the city.

The top floor exhibits provide a great overview of Cartagena's history from pre-colonial times up to the period of Independence. The texts for this are much better, but with some exceptions, all in Spanish.

The building itself is a gem, an excellent example of the Cartagena style of grand architecture that includes a lower floor, mezzanine level (entresuelo), and upper floor.

Thank andariega_6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

This is a great place to take a break from the heat and learn a bit about Colombian history. The exhibits are interesting, and informative. If you speak a little Spanish, you don't need the guide.

Thank Goal60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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