Gabo is the greatest exponent of Magic Realism literature. Photo: Getty Images
Gabo is the greatest exponent of Magic Realism. Photo: Getty Images

The city of magical realism: Eight years after Gabo's death

On April 17, 2014, the Colombian Nobel Prize winner for Literature died, but his legacy remains more alive than ever in Cartagena.


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Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of the greatest exponents of Colombian literature in the world, thanks to his works One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. This Sunday was the eighth anniversary of his death, but he is still more alive than ever in the city of his inspiration: Cartagena.

Gabo began his journalistic life in Cartagena, in the local newspaper El Universal, and it was in one of his journalistic visits to what is now known as the Hotel Sofitel Santa Clara where he was inspired to write Of Love and Other Demons

The relationship between Gabo and Cartagena "is the story of a love affair that has lasted many decades," said the director of the Gabo Foundation, Jaime Abello.

Today, eight years after his death, Cartagena has several places that keep the legacy of his Nobel Prize, such as Simon Bolivar Park, where Gabo slept on a bench the first night he arrived in the city. 

Other places, such as the Plaza de la Aduana, are an allegory of the Galleon Fair in One Hundred Years of Solitude, the Palace of the Inquisition described in Of Love and Other Demons and the Convention Center, formerly the Cartagena Public Market in Twelve Pilgrim Tales.

Other scenes in the city, which are not exactly places, also evoke Gabo's Magic Realism, as is the case of the vallenato groups found in the Walled Center. 

Gabo loved this musical rhythm and said it wrinkled his heart. He even once said that "One Hundred Years of Solitude was a vallenato of 400 pages".

Currently, in the courtyard of the Cloister of La Merced, the place where the law school of the University of Cartagena was located when he returned to try to study law by order of his father, lie his ashes just as he requested.

His remains rest under a bronze bust made by British sculptor Katie Murray, a friend of the family, while large yellow butterflies fly in the surrounding trees.


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