Getsemani: The Gateway to Cartagena
During the seventeenth century Getsemani was the gateway to Cartagena. Unlike today, Getsemani used to be surrounded almost entirely by water, and it was connected to the city only by the the removable San Francisco bridge. Anyone traveling to or from Cartagena by land had to cross the bridge, the neighborhood, and finally the Media Luna, or Half Moon gate. Initially inhabited mostly by enslaved people who worked in the city or in the surrounding farms, Getsemani gradually became a diverse and dynamic area that was home to rich and poor Spaniards and enslaved and free people of African descent. While its location and diversity were central to the economic life of Cartagena, the distance from the city center allowed some people to acquire affordable properties such as plots of land and stone houses, and to make profit by renting them out to sailors and other temporary residents of the city.