Iglesia de Santo Domingo

Church in Cartagena

Image by Jeremy Richards Getty Images

Reputedly the oldest church in the city, Santo Domingo was built in 1539 in Plaza de los Coches, but the original building succumbed to fire and the church was rebuilt in its present location in 1552. Builders gave it a particularly wide central nave and covered it with a heavy roof, but it seems they weren't too good at their calculations, as the vault began to crack afterwards.

Massive buttresses had to be added to the walls to support the structure and prevent it from collapsing. The builders also had problems with the bell tower, which is distinctly crooked.

The interior is bright if unremarkable, save for a metallic spiral staircase providing access to a mezzanine. A wood carving of Christ is set in the baroque altar at the head of the right-hand aisle. The floor in front of the high altar and in the two aisles is paved with old tombstones dating mostly from the 19th century.