Visit Cadiz from Seville Visit Cadiz from Seville Visit Cadiz from Seville
Visit Cadiz from Seville


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Cadiz - City of Freedom

Only 90 minutes train journey from Seville and you can reach Cádiz. Acknowledged by historians as the oldest city still inhabited in Iberian peninsula and the most ancient city standing in Western Europe, Cádiz is believed to have been founded in 1104 BC by Phoenicians who named it Gadir.

The Greeks knew the city as Gadira or Gadeira. According to Greek legend Cádiz was founded by Hercules and one of the Pillars of Hercules believed to have been placed here. Under the Romans, the city's Greek name was modified to Gades and flourished as a Roman naval base. The Visigoths in 410 brought with them the destruction of the original city, of which very little remains today.

Under Moorish rule between 711 and 1262, the city was called Qādis from which the modern Spanish name, Cádiz, was derived. The Moors were finally ousted by Alphonso X of Castile in 1262.

The city experienced a renaissance during the Spanish American Empire. Christopher Columbus sailed from Cádiz on his second and fourth voyages and the city later became the home port of the Spanish treasure fleet. In the eighteenth century the silting of the river Guadalquivir forced the Spanish government to transfer the Monopoly of trade with America’s Colonies from Seville to Cadiz. During this time, the city experienced a golden age during which it accounted for three-quarters of all Spanish trade was with the Americas. The double lure of Spanish fleet plus all the Silver and Gold pouring in from the Spanish Colonies made Cádiz a major target for the British as Spain's main naval and imperial rival. From 1587 (Sir Francis Drake) until 1800 (Admiral Nelson) British naval bombardment, naval sieges and occasional short lived occupation (the longest only lasting 5 days) was a regular feature of Cádiz ’s life! Thankfully, Spanish are not a nation that harbours grudges and the British are welcome visitors to the city, so long as they leave their gunboats at home!!

Alameda Marquez de Comillas – This is a beautiful seafront park and walkway, taking you past. You will wind through fabulous park on one side of the walk way and the sea over your other shoulder. The walk takes you past Baluarte de la Candelaria which was the new sea defences built in 1762, to enable the city to defend itself better against the British Navy. You can see the strategic importance of this point being surrounded by water on three sides and having clear view out to the ocean to provide early warning and clear line of sight for the gunners. Right across the road you have Convento de Nuestra Señora del Carmen the built in 1744 overlooking the sea.

Continue to walk along the seafront and you will come to Parque Genove and open-air theatre (used in summer). This is a glorious park with beautifully maintained trees, tropical plants and noisy parrots that have taken residence amongst it all.

Cadiz sea view, Andalucia, Spain

Plaza de la Catedral and the Cathedral - The Plaza de la Catedral houses both the Cathedral and the baroque Santiago church, built in 1635.

One of Cádiz's most famous landmarks is the cathedral which sits on the site of an older cathedral, completed in 1260 but sadly burned down in 1596. The reconstruction did not start until 1776 as the city had a few invasions to deal with first. This largely baroque-style cathedral was built over a period of 116 years. This rather long period of construction resulted in changes to the original design. The cathedral was originally intended to be a baroque edifice, but it finished with a mix of Rococo elements and neoclassical style. Although it sounds like an Architectural nightmare, it is a rather beautiful and imposing building, wearing its mixed heritage with elegance and a touch of ‘Je ne se que’.

Cadiz Cathedral, Andalucia, Spain

Plaza de San Juan de Dios and the Old Town Hall -  The land that Plaza San Juan de Dios occupies was reclaimed from the sea in 15th century. With the threat of the old fashioned Gunboat Diplomacy ebbing in the 1900, the City walls were partly demolished in 1906 and the plaza was expanded and a statue of the Cadiz politician Segismundo Moret was unveiled. Overlooking the plaza is the old Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) of Cádiz's Old City. It was originally constructed on the bases and location of the previous Consistorial Houses (1699), was built in two stages. The first stage began in 1799 under the direction of architect Torcuato Benjumeda in the neoclassical style. The second stage was completed in 1861 under the direction of García del Alamo, in the Isabelline Gothic (in Spanish, "Gótico Isabelino" or, simply, the "Isabelino") style. In 1936 with the Civil War looming on the horizon the flag of Andalucia was hoisted for the first time. After the Civil War the flag was not seen again until the post-Franco Democracy of 1976.

Cadiz Town Hall, Andalucia, Spain

The Plaza de España & Cádiz Cortes Memorial
This is an important site for the history lovers. Where was the first ever modern style parliament held?

The answer is neither London nor Washington!! According to the historians Cádiz Cortes of 1808 and the subsequent Cortes 1812 which established Spanish 1st Constitution was the first of the modern democratic parliaments recorded. Additionally, the Spanish 1812 constitution was the first Liberal Constitution in the Western world granting freedom of speech, rights of citizenship, suffrage, constitutional monarchy, and religious tolerance before they became fashionable in the rest of the world. The Cádiz Cortes were sessions of the national legislative body (Cortes in Spanish) which met in the safe haven of Cádiz throughout the French occupation of Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. The 1812 Constitution became the basis of many liberal constitutions including Norway (1814), Portugal (1822), etc.

The Plaza de España is a large square close to the port and is dominated by the Monument to the 1812 Constitution. The work on the monument started in 1912 to celebrate 100th anniversary of the constitution and it was finally finished in 1929.

The lower level of the monument represents a chamber and an empty presidential armchair, with bronze figures on each corner representing war and peace. In the centre, a pilaster rises to symbolise the principals expressed in the 1812 constitution. At the foot of this pilaster, there is a female figure representing Spain, to either side the representation of agriculture and citizenship.

Cadiz Cortes Memorial, Cadiz, Andalucia, Spain
Tavira Tower
160 towers filled the skyline of Cádiz in 18th century enabling merchants to lookout to sea for arriving merchant ships and their cargo. These towers often formed part of the merchants' houses. The Torre Tavira, named for its original owner, stands as the tallest remaining watchtower. It has a cámara oscura, a room that uses the principal of the pinhole camera to project panoramic views of the Old City onto its interior walls.
Tavira Towers, Cadiz, Andalucia, Spain