Didem Doğan

The squares of Cartagena: Plaza de la Aduana- the Customs’ Square

As you enter the old town from the main gate of Clock Tower, you turn left and walk straight and arrive to this square which is called the Customs Square or the Royal Square. This was the place where the goods arriving at the port were checked. The Chamber of Commerce and Customs were also located here, as well as the houses of the Mayor and the Marquis. In the 16th century commerce meant both the commerce of the goods and the commerce of the slaves. Slavery and inquisition (we will visit the Inquisition Palace later), two shameful facts of the colonial history. When you forget about today’s clean, postcard square and imagine what it was like 400-500 years ago you picture in your mind those sailors coming from a 60-70 days long trip, the traders trying to make the best deal, the African slaves who don’t have any idea what is waiting for them…