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Cadiz


Cádiz on the Costa de la Luz Resort Information Cádiz is on the coast in-between Chiclana De La Frontera and Puerto De Sta Maria, a 10 minute drive away from the CN-340 turn-off and 45/60 minutes to Seville. The nearest golf courses are 'Novo Sancti Petri' and 'El Campano' others include: Vista Hermosa, Costa Ballena and Benalup Golf. Cadiz is busy and bustling with a population of around 160,000.

Cádiz is the most southwesterly section of the Iberian Peninsula, in an area almost entirely surrounded by water, lays this ancient city. Historically Cádiz is believed to have been founded over 3,000 years ago by Hercules, although there is no evidence to suggest that there is any truth to this legend!

Physical evidence proves that the Phoenicians who settled there as early as 1100 BC founded Cádiz. Over the centuries it has also been home to the Carthaginians, Romans and Moors.

The city itself is joined to the mainland by a narrow sandbank, making the location ideal for any civilization seeking a defensive location close to the sea.

The city was prosperous for many hundreds of years, largely due to its effectiveness as a port in close proximity to the Atlantic as well as the Mediterranean. When the Moors invaded the peninsula it fell into turmoil and the area lost a great deal of its wealth. After the reconquest the city regained its prosperity through a series of voyages of discovery to the New World, especially the South American and Caribbean colonies.

The port of Cádiz is, and always has been, the most important feature of the city due to its importance as a trade port. It has also been the scene of many raids by pirates, especially the English. In 1587 Sir Francis Drake and Lord Essex laid siege to and eventually captured the city in an attempt to gain world trade control for the British.

In the 17th and 18th centuries the port remained busy and cargo ships sometimes had a long wait before they were granted permission to enter the harbour. Local speculators and merchants were therefore granted a window of opportunity to arrange trade agreements and prices long before the ship was allowed to enter, thus acquiring enormous wealth in a very short space of time.

During the 18th century over 90% of all cargo destined for Spain arrived at Cádiz and its population expanded accordingly to more than 100,000 people.

During the Spanish civil war of 1936-39 the port was controlled by the Nationalists and was an important point of entry for reinforcements from Morocco. Today it is not nearly the centre for Spanish trade that it once was, but still functions as a bustling commercial centre for imports and exports of products such as wine, machinery and timber. There is also less industry than there used to be, with most of the shipyards and factories located further inland.

Cádiz owes much of its style of architecture to the various nations that have passed through the area. Moorish influence is still present in the old town, with its characteristic buildings and tight winding side streets, while the Italians chose to build streets that ended in small plazas and houses with flat roofs and no tiles.

Ironically, it was when many of the older buildings were being demolished to make way for modern apartment blocks that the majority of relics from the city's past were uncovered.

Phoenician burial sites, Roman artefacts and other items prove that this part of the Coast was founded long before the interior of the country was settled. Nowadays the city is home to 160,000 people. New beachfront developments have had a detrimental effect on the area as a whole, preventing cool breezes and the natural process of sand bank formation, meaning that sand has to be artificially dumped on the sand bar to prevent erosion.

Of all the historical sites the most important and famous is Cádiz Cathedral. This Neo-Classical church is one of Spain's largest and oldest. The outstanding feature of the exterior is the huge dome of yellow tiles that sits on the top of the building. The interior is equally impressive, but one of the most interesting facts is that in the crypt is the tomb of the composer Manuel de Falla, a native of Cádiz.

The Cathedral also has numerous treasures and paintings, all of which are stored in the museum next to the Cathedral. This is a large, spacious building that charts the history and progress of the city and its second floor houses one of the largest collections of art in Andalucía. There are paintings by Rubens and Murillo, as well as many other Spanish artists.

Carnival time in Cádiz is something special, with one of the most elaborate and fantastic parties in the world-taking place in its streets. When Franco was in control of the country and was restricting his countrymen in every possible way, he was still unable to stop the people of Cádiz from celebrating their famous carnival. The tradition started in the 17th century and lasts for eight days and nights, participants dressing in fabulous costumes and assuming the role of a celebrity, a pose which is maintained throughout the period of the celebrations.

As one of Europe's most ancient cities and a site of many contemporary pleasures, Cádiz is a wonderfully interesting and picturesque destination and well worth a visit.
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