The fortress of San Felipe de Barajas is a military fort of the XVI century, located in the historical part of the Colombian city of Cartagena.
The fortress buildings are located on the top of the hill of San Lazaro, occupying a commanding height above the city and above the sea, the relative height of the fort is 25 meters. The main structures of the fortress have dimensions of 300 by 100 meters. It is believed that this is the largest fortification of colonial times on the American continent. The ancient fortifications of San Felipe de Barajas are recognized as one of the “Seven Wonders of Colombia”, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.
The construction of the fortress called Castillo de San Lazaro began in 1536, later received a new name in honor of King Philip IV of Spain. The construction of the citadel was completed in 1769. Initially, the fort was a triangle with eight guns, and by the beginning of the XIX century it had 63 guns, a barracks for 350 soldiers, warehouses of weapons and food for several months of siege and an extensive system of underground passages.
Despite the age of almost five centuries, the fortress is quite well preserved, and to this day is a popular attraction of Cartagena. Cultural events and meetings of political and public organizations are constantly held within the walls of the fortress. A fortification museum has been opened in the lower bastion of Santa Catalina. Here travelers can learn about the history of the fort’s construction and about the numerous sieges that the fortress had to endure for several centuries
In front of the fort stands a monument to the Spanish military commander Blas de Leso, who commanded the defense of the city in the middle of the XVIII century.