Sunday, May 10, 2015

Palace of the Inquisition

I ignored the advice of three-quarters of the population and did not take a boat cruise out to the Rosario Islands (about 60 miles off the coast from Cartagena). And when I say I ignored the advice of three-quarters of the city population, I think I am being literal and people kept coming up to me trying to sell me on a Rosario Islands' boat cruise. Which, to contrarian me, was the perfect reason to avoid them.

Instead, good Catholic that I am, I decided to visit the Palace of the Inquisition. And, no, although the local inquisition in Cartagena was driven by the Spanish crown, there will be Monty Python illusions to expectations in the post that will follow. (Please forgive the momentary lapse of paralepsis.

But before we enter, I discovered that my hotel has a secret stairwell up to a rooftop area.

Which means you can photograph the rooftops of Cartagena, from one side:

To the other:

And, of course, take the obligatory vacation vanity selfie, now with visible vacation beard:

So in case I am accused of the heresy of "hipster beard," rather than a proper, respectful vacation beard, I must be off to face the Inquisition. Let's stroll through the various instruments of torture and execution (instrumentos de tortura y ejecuciones, as the museum guide cards called them):

El garrote, a strangling device.

La garrucha, which was merely an instrument of torture, not execution. I'm not sure what this one was:

But I do not what this one would do.

El hacha. which I'm pretty sure (a) translates to "hatchet" and (b) was more on the "execution" side of the street, than the "torture" side.

I believe this is the first time I've ever seen an actual, functioning rack, which, I'm guessing here, made your back feel great up until the point that it suddenly didn't.

Eliminate the inner spikes and I'm sure you could sell that one to the S&M community. And finally, la horquilla de herete.

Which apparently is no problem if you NEVER move your head or jaw.

The whole scene reminded me of the House of Terror in Budapest, where the Arrow Cross (the local Nazi Party offshoot) and, later, the Communists, tortured and executed political prisoners. Only that happened 300 to 400 years later, when we supposedly were more civilized. So when your atheists friends try to denigrate the Catholic Church by bringing up the Inquisition, you might want to remind them that the atheist-communists had their inquisition within living memory.

Time for the instruments of execution, which may or may not be from 1500's Cartagena, as were the devices we just saw:

I thought the guillotine was more from the French Revolution Era, but here it is.

The gallows. And comedic reference here then would be ... you're just going to have to complete the joke for yourself here.

And here's a cannon, which does not really belong in the same category as the rest. Yes, it is an instrument of execution, but it's a little less "personal" that the others.

The second floor was a general exhibit of the history of Cartagena.

Nice view of Plaza de Bolivar.

Firma del Acta de Independencia Absoluta de Cartagena de Indias. Cecilia Porras, artist.
That one depicts the signing of Cartagena independence. And this one is just the walls of Cartagena:

Antigio Transvia de Mulos al Cabrero. Artist anonymous.
Finally, just around the corner, this was visible:

La Ventana de la Denuncia, where the upstanding citizens of Cartagena could go and anonymously report their neighbors and friends for heresy. Nothing like that could ever exist today. Now, if you will excuse, I am going to use the hotline to report a California neighbor for watering violations.

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