Submarine Peral – Cartagena, Spain - Atlas Obscura

Submarine Peral

The world's first electric battery-powered submarine. 


Launched in September 1888, the Peral Submarine was a triumph of new technology, powered only by electricity.

Equipped with both a periscope for above water viewing and search light allowing crews to view the waters around them and the ocean floor, the Peral was also armed with a single torpedo tube. Although this marvel performed admirably, she only served two years, primarily testing the technology in underwater trials. The Peral was decommissioned in 1890.

In 1890 Peral was withdrawn from service, equipment removed with the hull eventually (in 1929) being put in store at the submarine base at Cartagena.

In 1965 the authorities of Cartagena succeeded in getting the hull moved to the Plaza de los Héroes de Cavite and apart for temporary removal to Seville for the World’s Fair in 1992 it remained there until 2002 .

In 2002 was moved to the Paseo Alfonso XII, in front of the port of Cartagena Over the years exposure to sun and water started to take its toll and in 2013 Peral was given a major restoration and on 12 Dec that year moved to a newly restored annex of the Naval Museum of Cartagena called the Sala de Isaac Peral a building which is provided with lots of natural light but yet gives protection from the elements that its previous site lacked. The Sala has new interpretation material in both Spanish and English and the exhibit can now be approached very closely with a set of steps on the starboard side to take the visitor level with the primitive conning tower. The submarine is illuminated inside and a tiny aperture allows a little peek or an interior shot from a small camera lens.

Know Before You Go

The Sala de Isaac Peral is immediately to the west of the main naval museum in a glass-faced building. Officially entrance to both the museum and the Sala are free but the requested three Euro donation is a bargain.

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