My favourite place: Miranda Kaufmann

In the Christmas issue of BBC History Magazine, historian and journalist Miranda Kaufmann selects the former Spanish colonial city of Cartagena de Indias in Colombia as her favourite historical destination. History Extra caught up with her to find out more...

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Q: When did you last travel to Cartagena de Indias and why were you there?

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In the summer of 2006, I spent a month in Ecuador with a charity called Ayuda Directa, helping build a school and teaching children English. At the end of the trip, I had a few days for R&R and I chose to visit Cartagena rather than the Galapagos!

Q: Why do you love Cartagena de Indias so much?

Cartagena is a magical place, steeped in layers of history, with beautiful architecture and a Caribbean climate.

Q: What top 3 sights would you recommend people visit while they are there, and why?

1. The city walls and fortress of San Felipe. These are UNESCO-listed and very impressive. Also good for a stroll from which to admire the city and the sea.

2. The Jesuit Convent Church of San Pedro Claver- you can visit the cell where he lived and died, and spot his skull beneath the altar.

3. The Palacio de Inquisition – a beautiful building, which, besides the torture equipment, also has a small display of the city’s history.

Q: During what period of its history would you most wanted to have visited Cartagena de Indias and why?

As a historian, I would most like to have been there in the summer of 1586, to witness Francis Drake’s attack. But it might be more fun to crash a ball in the late 18th century, arriving in a horse-drawn carriage.

Q: Where else in the world would you most like to visit and why?

1. Ghana, to visit Elmina Castle, the most famous slave fortress on the Gold Coast.

2. Patagonia, to visit Y Wladfa, the Welsh Colony established there 150 years ago.

3. Alexandria to dive down and explore the sunken ruins of Cleopatra’s Palace.

Miranda Kaufmann is a historian and journalist: www.mirandakaufmann.com

You can read Miranda’s feature on Cartagena de Indias in the Christmas 2014 issue of BBC History Magazine – on sale from 4 December

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