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Work on Cartagena’s cathedral began in 1575, but in 1586, while still under construction, it was partially destroyed by the cannons of Francis Drake, and was not completed until 1612. Alterations were made between 1912 and 1923 by the first archbishop of Cartagena, who covered the church with stucco and painted it to look like marble. He also commissioned the dome on the tower.

Restoration work has uncovered the lovely limestone on the building's exterior, and apart from the tower's top, the church has basically preserved its original form. It has a fortlike appearance and a simply decorated interior that features three naves and massive semicircular archways supported on high, stone columns. The main retable, worked in gold leaf, dates from the 18th century. You can take a self-guided audio tour that lasts about 25 minutes.