The Castillo San Felipe de Barajas is a fortress in the city of Cartagena, Colombia. It is located on the Hill of San Lazaro in a strategic location, dominating approaches to the city by land or sea.
The name of the fortress was given in honor of Philip IV of Spain.
Construction of the fortress begun in 1657. It was built in a triangular shape on top of the hill, with eight batteries and a garrison of 20 soldiers and four gunners.
During the War of the Grand Alliance in the 1697 raid on Cartagena, the fortress fell to the French privateer Baron de Pointis.
The castle defended Cartagena from numerous pirates attempting to seize some of the New World treasures destined to Spain. The fortress consists of a series of walls, wide at the base and narrow toward the parapet, forming a formidable pattern of bunkers.
The parapets and batteries protect one another so it is impossible to take a battery without taking the whole defense system.
In the 1741 Battle of Cartagena de Indias, the English Admiral Edward Vernon attacked the fortress.
He attacked with a force of 23,000 men and 186 boats but the guns of his boats could just reach the outside walls of the defense.
Another expansion was made to the fortress in 1762 by Antonio de Arévalo and the entire hill of San Lazaro was covered over with this enormous bastion.
There is a complex system of tunnels that connected strategic points of the fortress to distribute provisions and evacuate the inmates.
It is the most formidable defensive complex of Spanish military architecture.
The San Felipe de Barajas Castle, along with the old city of Cartagena, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.