SPAIN: Exploring Cádiz, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in western Europe

As the title suggests, the port and city of Cádiz in Andalusia in southwestern Spain is an ancient jewel for local and foreign visitors alike. It offers beautiful beaches, well-preserved fortifications, majestic cathedrals among others. It is one of the places where one should know a little bit of Spanish to get a message across. On our 6th day in Spain, we went for a 3 hours drive from Calahonda and across the Parque Natural los Alcornocales, a nature reserve with cork trees and gorges, to the port city where Christopher Columbus set out to reach and discover the Americas in the 16th century.

Spending the night in Cádiz, we stayed in a big apartment near Plaza de España. The city center is very small and can be explored in a day, so after having a cozy lunch at Plaza de Mina, we had a little walking tour along the narrow streets and on towards Puerta de la Caleta, where the fortified bridge that leads to Castillo de San Sebastian is connected. By the way, Cádiz was called Gadir by the Phoenicians who discovered the bay in 1100 BC. Read more about the historical background of the city here.

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I particularly liked the laidback ambiance of the ancient city. The people were just relaxing, enjoying the beach, fishing, and hanging out in summer. I could barely tell the difference between the tourists and the locals!

One of the most interesting feature of the city is Castillo de San Sebastian. It is a polygonal fortress located on an islet which was believed to be the seat of the Temple of Kronos, a Greek god, as well. Connected to the peninsula by a stone walkway called Paseo Fernando Quiñones, the castle shares the islet with a chapel, a lighthouse and watchtower, and the Marine Research Laboratory.

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I had a little bit more time left before dinner, so I decided to wander off alone after my host family left for the apartment. The walk led me to some of the beautiful sites in the city, like the Plaza de la Catedral where the main Cathedral of the city is situated, the Plaza San Juan de Dios where the Old Town Hall or Ayuntamiento is found, other plazas (seriously, it’s a city of plazas) and shopping streets. Before leaving the city the following day, I also got the chance to roam around Plaza deEspaña, where the Monument to the Constitution of 1812 was erected, and the Murallas de San Carlos or the fortified walls protecting the city.

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The ancient city of Cádiz has lots to offer, and it is one good representative of a Spanish locale. however, I saw how liberated the Gaditanos and Gaditanas are, despite the Roman Catholic influence. Hoping to discover the country more in the summers to come! Cheers! ❤

Walkway to Castillo de San Sebastian
Walkway to Castillo de San Sebastian

 

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