Cádiz City Information

History: Cadiz is said to be the oldest city in Europe, founded in 1100 BC by the Phoenicians, who first named it Gadir, meaning “fortress”. In approximately 500 BCE, Cadiz became a base for missions in the conquest of southern Iberia. In 206 BC the Roman forces collapsed the city renaming it Gades and turned it into a thriving Roman naval base.

Santa Catalina Garita photoThe destruction of the original city occurred in the 5th century, when the Visigoths defeated the Romans. The Moorish then reigned between 711 and 1262, changing the name to Qādis, from which the modern Spanish name, Cadiz, was derived. In the Age of Exploration, Christopher Columbus sailed from Cadiz on his second and fourth voyages, and the city became the home port of the Spanish treasure fleet. England in 1587 attacked the harbour and thus delayed the Armada. In 1596 Anglo-Dutch invaders practically burnt the entire city and yet in the 18th century, Cadiz became prosperous by trading with the America’s and developed its first liberal middle class.

During the Napoleonic era, British war ships attacked Cadiz. After, Spain opposed France, consequently enduring a French raid from 1810 to 1812 and honourably was one of few Spanish cities never to fall to the French sieges.
Cadiz was fruitful for many years due to the trade between the colonies, however when this shattered in the 19th century, Cadiz went into a deprivation from which it never recovered; even today Cadiz has one of the highest degrees of unemployment in Spain.

Plaza de Españ photoAttractions: Due to Cadiz’s historical importance, it can surprise visitors with its cultural monuments. There are churches such as Oratorio de San Felipe Neri, an exquisite baroque church, used in 1812 as a meeting place for parliament. It contains one of Murillo’s masterpieces, the Inmaculada of 1680. Then there is the neoclassical church of Oratorio de la Santa Cueva, containing paintings by Goya. Not to mention Cadiz’s yellow-domed cathedral finished in 1838. The Museo Histórico Municipal, contains Carlos the third’s 18th century model of the city, made from mahogany and ivory. The Museo de Cadiz is the city’s biggest museum, containing Phoenician white stone coffins carved in a human form. And to see everything, climb Torre Tavira, an old watchtower. Its height enables you to get a panoramic vista of the city.

Going Out: The condensed old town is filled with lots of plazas to chill out, eat, drink and have fun. In the summer time the heat of the night can be found along the beach, Playa de la Victoria, on Paseo Maritimo. There are plenty of bars and clubs, along with large groups of people bringing their own alcohol, simply sitting in the plazas. In the winter the street Calle Doctor Zurita is the place to be.