The Roman Theatre in Cartagena

Dating of the building: 1st century BC.

Applicant: Teatro Romano de Cartagena Foundation.

Reason for the award :

For the recovery, restoration, and excellent urban integration of this Roman monument, as well as for its conservation, exhibition, and use for cultural and educational purposes, in an exemplary collaborative action of the public and financial institutions of the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia.

The construction of a building in 1998 brought to light the remains of what was later revealed as a Roman theatre embedded in the historic centre of Cartagena.

In 1998, during archaeological excavations before the construction of a craft centre in the historic centre of Cartagena, signs of what was later confirmed to be a Roman Theatre were discovered. From then on, some excavations that seemed routine were redirected towards the search and recovery of the theatrical monument. During the first eight years, work pace was slow, since the economic contributions that came from the Public Administrations were small and not constant. The first agreement signed to finance the excavations of the Roman Theatre of Cartagena was agreed upon in 1996 and signed by the City of Cartagena, the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia, and the Cajamurcia Foundation. This agreement would have an annual character and would be repeated during the following seven years, allowing a necessary rhythm to be imposed on the excavations while buying and demolishing the buildings that occupied the area of the surface of the Theatre.

As the excavations progressed and the scale and importance of the findings became obvious, a comprehensive project to recover the Roman Theatre was also understood as necessary; this required an organic structure and capable management to develop the entire intervention. Thus, in March 2003, the Teatro Romano de Cartagena Foundation was established, whose patrons are the City of Cartagena, the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia, and the Cajamurcia Foundation. Its objectives were the start-up and execution of the integral project of the Roman Theatre and its continuity, linked to the management of the museum itself and a visit to the monumental complex. The project was commissioned by the architect Rafael Moneo who, together with the archeology department of Sebastián Ramallo and Elena Ruiz, carried out the last phase of the intervention, which culminated in 2008 with the inauguration of the Roman Theatre of Cartagena and its Museum.

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