Teatro Pedro De Heredia

Cartagena, Colombia | C.1911

Photo Credit: Braden Planz

Blending Italian style with Caribbean influence, the Heredia Theater in Cartagena is ornately decorated in cultural symbiosis. Also known as the Adolfo Meji¬a Theater, the building was designed and built by renowned architect Luis Felipe Jaspe, the designer of some of Colombia’s most preeminent structures of the 20th century.

Construction on the Theater began following a request from the Cartagena Variety Theater Company who had been advocating for 30 years for a municipal theater. The Company sought to replace its existing aging theater as well as enrich Cartagena’s cultural scene.

Jaspe pulled from both local surroundings and international cultures to conceive the Heredia. His design included Italian style and nods to the Tacon theater in Havana, Cuba. As the theater was to be built on the site of a 17th century chapel, Jaspe used the chapel’s remnants to shape the structure to form a horseshoe interior with stalls, boxes, and balconies around the stage.

The Theater was celebrated for its magnificence. The lobby staircase, built in Italy and shipped over the Atlantic, was made of Carrera Marble. Sheets of 22-karat gold draped over openwork lattices that separated the boxes, creating a delicate lace effect. Crowning the stage was a sculpture of India Catalina, the indigenous translator to the city’s founder Pedro de Heredia.

The Theater opened on November 11, 1911, commemorating the centennial of the Independence of Cartagena. Plays and performances graced its stage for decades until the Theater fell on hard times in the 1970s. Following a restoration, its interior was revitalized to its original breathtaking details, including stunning paintings by Colombian artist Enrique Grau on the ceiling and stage curtain.

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