Cartagena de Indias, or Cartagena, is the capital of the department of Bolivar, Colombia. It was founded in 1533 by don Pedro Heredia. It is the main tourist destination in Colombia, and has the fifth biggest population of cities in Colombia following Bogota, Medellin, Cali and Barranquilla. Since 1991, Cartagena has become a Tourist and Cultural District. The city is located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea and his one of the most important tourist epicenters in Colombia, as well as the second most important urban center in the Caribbean region, just after Barranquilla.
Since its founding in the 16th century and during the Spanish Colonial period, Cartagena de Indias was one of the most important ports in the Americas. On November 11, 1811, Cartagena declared its independence from Spain. This date is a national holiday in Colombia, and in Cartagena it is celebrated for four days that is known as the "Fiestas de Independencia." Since 1993, November 11 has served as the day for the election and coronation of Miss Colombia in the National Beauty Contest.
With the passing of time, Cartagena has developed its urban zones, conserving the historic center, while becoming one of the most important ports in Colombia, and at the same time, remains a celebrated tourist destiny. Its total population is of 892, 545 inhabitants, and together with its surrounding sphere of influence it contains a greater population of around 1,188,078 inhabitants including the nearby municipalities of Turbaco, Arjona, Turbana, Santa Catalina, Clemencia, Maria La Baja, Mahates, San Estanislao (Arenal) and Villanueva. Cartagena's historic center, "the walled city," was declared as National Patrimony of Colombia in 1959, and UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Center as well in 1984. In the year 2007, its military architecture was awarded the Fourth Wonder of Colombia.