Navidad Fort, locally known as Fuerte de Navidad, lies on a hill next to the harbour of the city of Cartagena in the province of Murcia in Spain.
Cartagena was founded in the 3rd century BC by the Carthaginian general Hasdrubal the Fair. It was built at the site of a natural harbour. As far back as the 16th century it was one of the most important naval ports of Spain. During the 18th century the city was heavily fortified which resulted in the building of lots of forts and batteries on the hills and mountains around the harbour. At present the city is still the headquarters and main military port, also for submarines, of the Spanish Navy and it possesses a large military shipyard.
Navidad Fort was built in the late 17th century next to the entrance of the harbour. It had to protect the naval port against the threat of a possible attack by a French fleet.
In the 18th century the fort had to be renovated, so in 1740 Navidad Fort was reinforced and made a more integral part of the city's defenses by the military engineer Estéban de Panón.
In 1860 a Defense Plan was presented; studies by military engineers concluded there was an urgent need to modernize the city's defenses. So Navidad Fort was rebuilt into its present appearance; a casemated angular construction. It was armed with 8 cannons.
In 1873-74, during the Cantonal Revolution (an anarchistic uprising against the First Spanish Republic), the fort was in the hands of cantonalistic rebels who renamed it Juan Bravo Fort. It was then armed with 2 cannons and a mortar and had a capacity of 38 men.
At the beginning of the 20th century Navidad Fort lost its military importance due to the technical advance in arms. From then on it was only used to fire ceremonial cannon shots. In 2004-5 it was restored and turned into a small museum.
Directly next to it, and a little bit higher, lies a very ruined, hexagonal, 16th century watch tower.
At present Navidad Fort can be visited for a fee. A nice small fort-museum.