Cádiz on the Costa de la Luz
Created in 1100 BC by the Phoenicians, occupied by the Romans and then by the Muslims, Cádiz is a popular and lively port city that houses the oldest university in Spain, the Royal College of Surgery of Cádiz founded in 1748.
Facing the Atlantic Ocean, Cádiz is built on a rock connected to the mainland by a strip of land several kilometres long and two bridges spanning the bay. Protected by numerous fortifications and ford towers, one enters the old town through the Puerta de Tierra, from where avenues to make it possible to go around.
Cádiz is a port city, famous for its shipyards as well as for its fishing and commercial port, offering passenger embarkations for the Canary Islands and Africa.
Equipped with beautiful beaches facing the ocean and numerous nautical and sporting structures, with its bay, Cádiz is a popular seaside destination. A charm enhanced by its old quarters and lively squares.
Among its historic districts, the medieval El Pópulo, Santa María, temple of flamenco or La Viña, the one of the fishermen.
Do not miss the central market on the Plaza de Libertad. With its stalls of shellfish, fish, cheeses and spices, local products and shops, the Plaza de Libertad is certainly the busiest square in town during the morning.
At the end of the peninsula, El Parque Genovés and the beach of Caleta, the beach of the old town, for magical views of the ocean.
THE WALLS OF CÁDIZ
One of the few most significant monuments in Cádiz, the construction of the walls, in which the French engineer Vauban, who reinforced them with forts and bastions, took part, began in the 16th century.
The defensive fort of San Sebastian and Santa Catalina have been classified as cultural interest since 1985.
Both are distributed at the ends of the beach of La Caleta, the small Gaditan fortress of San Sebastian whose construction began in 1706 is located on the south side, on an islet connected to the city by the paseo Fernando Quiñones, a stone bridge several tens of meters long.
A 41-metre high lighthouse stands on the site of an old Muslim lookout tower. Several directors have taken advantage of the silhouette of the Castillo and the beauty of the places as film sets.
Conversely, on the north-western flank of La Caleta, Santa Catalina fort sits on a rocky outcrop. Built in the seventeenth century, of Italian influence, the building which served a time of prison was designed as a star. The Castillo de Santa Catalina is now used for cultural events.
On the other side of La Caleta, past the park of Genoves and Punta Candeleria, Las Murallas de San Carlos border the waterfront of Caletilla de Rota, offer a promenade.
These walls, which once made the tour of the peninsula, delimit the new city from the old historical centre of Cádiz, which is penetrated by the Torreón de las Puertas de Tierra at the end of the Andalucía Avenida.
With a height of 185 meters which makes it one of the highest bridges in the world, the 1812 Constitution Bridge, inaugurated in 205, with its 2×2 lanes links Cádiz to Puerto Real while facilitating access to the city centre, its span with a height of 65m, the second highest in Europe, allows the passage of large ships.
Built on the site of an old 13th century cathedral destroyed by a fire in 1596 caused by the attack of a Dutch fleet, the construction of the New Cathedral of Cádiz will last 116 years.
This length of time gave this building facing the ocean a baroque and neoclassical style while being endowed with rococo friezes. In the afternoon its dome of golden tiles shines in the sun, like an invitation to go up to the Torre del Poniente of the cathedral, the highest tower of the city. From there the view looks out over the city, the ocean and the bay.
In the crypt lie the famous composer Manuel de Falla and the poet José María Fermán, originally from Cádiz.
Listed as a property of cultural interest since 1931, the Cathedral of Cádiz contains some treasures composed of unique and precious pieces of goldsmith’s jewellery including custodes, incense-holders of great value. The Corpus is 5 metres high and weighs a ton. The custodia del Million is set with 250,000 precious stones.
Access: Plaza de la Catedral by coming from Campo del Sur Avenue along the sea.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6:30pm. Sundays from 1:30 pm to 6:30 pm.
Admission: 5 €. Students and retirees: 3 €. Free Sunday from 11:30am to 1:30pm.
The entrance to the cathedral allows a free visit to the Cathedral Museum located at Plaza Fray Felix on the seafront.
CONTEMPORARY CREATIVE SPACE
The Espacio de Creación Contemporánea (ECCO), a contemporary creative space, is nestled on Paseo Carlos III near the park Genoves at the end of the peninsula, facing the bay of Cádiz.
The creation of this public service space was born from the cultural policy of the municipality of Cádiz.
Conceived in a renovated 18th century old artillery barracks and located in the cultural axis of the old three-thousand year old city of Cádiz, the 3600 m² of this vast complex houses contemporary artistic works and is intended as a space dedicated to creativity, experimentation and education.
The site also includes exhibition halls, a vestibule and courtyard as well as a WIFI zone.
Access: Paseo Carlos III, n° 5.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm. Sundays and holidays from 11 am to 3 pm. Free admission.
On the outskirts of Cádiz, El Puerto de Santa María offers about fifteen kilometres of fine sandy beach, dotted beyond chiringuitos, these refreshments offering drinks and food.
From the beaches stretching from the Puerto Sherry to the Playa El Ancla, the Muralla beach is well sheltered by the small cove next to the marina, named after the remains of walls dating from the fight against Napoleonic troops.
Along the Paseo Maritimo de la Puntilla, between the Castillo d’ El Puerto and the Guadalete estuary, the Puntilla beach houses one of the most famous “chiringuito”. El Castillito has been grilling fish there since 1956.