Saturday, 1 November 2014

I have been to ... Cartagena Naval Museum, Cartagena, Spain: The Museum

The Naval Museum (Museo Naval) in Cartagena is situated close to the seafront on the ground floor of the Technical University building. The Museum was originally housed within the Naval base, but moved to its present location after the building was renovated.

The first thing that you see when you enter the Museum is a model of the Spanish Navy's sail training ship, Juan Sebastián de Elcano.

We turned right, and followed the route around the Museum.

The first section we came to was devoted to Construcción Naval (Naval construction).

This contained a large number of model ships, and this will be the subject of a separate blog entry of its own.

We then reached the section devoted to Navegación (Navigation) ...

... which contained all sorts of exhibits related to navigation and the machinery used to control a ship at sea.

From there we passed into the Artillería Naval (Naval artillery) section of the Museum.

Because of the size of the Museum, most of the naval artillery on show were smaller calibre weapons such as smooth-bore mortars, ...

... smooth-bore cannons, ...

... light automatic cannons, ...

... and small arms.

There was also a very nicely preserved example of a Russian-built Maxim Gun ...

... and a Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missile.

The next section of the Museum was entitled Sanidad Naval (Naval health) ...

... and contained all sorts of different (and sometimes unusual) medical equipment.

This was followed by the Banderas y Uniformes (Flags and uniforms) section of the Museum.

This section contained a large display of flags, ...

... uniforms, ...

... and military decorations.

Our walk around the Museum brought us back to the entrance, where we saw a number of paintings of Spanish warships, ...

... two smooth-bore cannons, ...

... and a Vickers 76.2mm L17 Landing Gun from the Spanish Battleship Jamie I.

This particular gun and carriage were used when the body of the former King of Spain – Alfonso XIII – was re-interred some years ago. The funeral procession is recreated in a diorama that can also be found in the Museum's entrance.

We then made our way to the left of the Museum's entrance, which took us to the section devoted to the work of submarine pioneer (and native of Cartagena), Isaac Peral.

Peral designed and built what is regarded as the first fully capable military submarine. It was launched on September 8, 1888 and was powered by electric motors. It also carried two torpedoes and carried out the first underwater torpedo launch 25th June 1890.

From this section of the Museum our route took us – quite naturally – to the section devoted to Submarinos (Submarines).

There were a considerable number of models in this section of the Museum, and these will be included in a later blog entry.

One of the models was a very large, cutaway model of the inside of a modern submarine.

The final section of the Museum that we visited was devoted to Buceo (Diving) ...

... and included a number of interesting and unusual exhibits.

These included a very recognisable old-fashioned deep sea diving suit, ...

... a two-man submersible used by Spanish Navy Special Forces, ...

... a modern deep sea diving suit, ...

... a Special Forces combat canoe (very similar to those used by the Royal Marine 'Cockleshell Heroes' of World War II), ...

... and a decompression chamber.

This completed our visit to the Cartagena Naval Museum ... or so we thought.

Just as we were walking out of the Museum, one of the warding staff ran after us and pointed out that there was another exhibit that was housed in a nearby building ... Isaac Peral's submarine. We did go to see it ... but that will be covered in a separate blog entry.


  1. Thanks for the tour.

    I find original artefacts interesting, but I confess my excitement level goes waaaay up at the site of a diorama or even just some models and toy soldiers.

  2. Ross Mac,

    I am pleased that you enjoyed this blog entry. The Museum's model collection was very nice, and I will feature it in another blog entry.

    The glass used on the cabinet that houses the diorama - coupled with the lighting - did not allow me to show the figures as well as I had hoped ... but it is a very impressive sight when seen close up.

    All the best,


  3. Great photos Bob, the bits on submarines were particularly interesting.

    Bet you wouldn't have minded a few of those flags in your collection.



  4. As a submariner I look forward to reading your post about that particular section of the museum. When I visited about six years ago the museum was closed, but I'll to possibly revisit in the near future. Excellent post.

  5. Pete.,

    The next blog entry will cover the Museum's collection of ship models, and I think that you will enjoy seeing them as well.

    I would love to own such a wonderful collection of flags ... but I don't have anywhere to display them.

    All the best,


  6. James Bailes,

    The section of the Museum devoted to Isaac Peral's submarine was very impressive, even though half of the building it is displayed in was out of commission as it was being prepared for a temporary exhibition.

    The Peral was much larger than I expected, and struck me as being much bigger that the Holland that is on display at Gosport. She was also at least a capable as the Holland and did not need oil-fuelled engines for movement on the surface.

    All the best,