Palace of Inquisition

Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

Palace of Inquisition


The Palace of Inquisition, also known as the Inquisition Palace, (Spanish: Palacio de la Inquisición Spanish pronunciation: [paˈlasjo ðe laĩŋkisiˈsjõn]) is an eighteenth-century the seat of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Cartagena, now in modern Colombia. Finished around 1770, it currently serves as a museum showcasing historical artifacts. Among the many historical artifacts, the museum displays torture equipment used on victims during the inquisition. These items were removed from display in 2015 prior to visits to Colombia by Pope Francis. They have since partially returned and are again on display. The museum has been described as "one of the finer buildings" in Cartagena. Cited as one of Cartagena's "best examples of late colonial, civil architecture", it faces the Parque de Bolívar.

The establishment of the Palace was decreed by Philip III. Since Cartagena was a center of commerce, a transit point between the Caribbean and Spanish settlements in western South America, the city became the third in the Spanish empire to have a tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Some merchants were Portuguese and suspected of being crypto-Jews (Jews passing as Christian). During the period 1580-1640, the crown of Portugal and that of Spain were ruled by the same monarch, and the period saw many Portuguese merchants active in Spain's overseas colonies. Established in 1610, the current building was completed much later. The Palace was used by Inquisition to try Jews and other non-Catholics and about 800 individuals believed guilty of crimes such as black magic were publicly executed there.

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