Discover Cadiz: Spain’s oldest city
From February 16 to 26 the Carnival of Cadiz, a festival of international tourist interest, is celebrated and since we are about two hours away from one of the most beautiful cities in the world, we want to dedicate a post to the oldest western city and discover all that Gadir, now known as Cadiz, has to offer.
With more than 3,000 years of antiquity behind it, Cadiz is the oldest city in Spain and one of the oldest in Europe. It was founded by the Phoenicians in 1100 B.C. and since then, many people have left their mark on what we know today as the “Tacita de Plata” (silver cup) among the Andalusians
Getting lost among the streets of the neighborhood of the Pópulo, the oldest in Europe, is almost obligatory in your visit to the city of Cadiz. It is delimited by the arches of La Rosa, Los Blancos and El Pópulo, which correspond to the ancient access gates to the medieval walled city.
Among its streets you will find the Plaza de San Martin with the palace of the Casa del Almirante, the Church of Santa Cruz and the Posada del Meson. Also, sharing the street with the Posada is the famous Café Teatro Pay-pay, protagonist of the nights of this neighborhood where the artists of Cadiz share their carnival art, which we will talk about later.
Another must-see in this neighborhood is the Roman Theater. This was discovered in 1980 and is the second largest and oldest theater in Roman Hispania.
The Cathedral of Cadiz
The Cathedral overlooking the Atlantic, is perceived as a mixture of styles, baroque and neoclassical, topped by a dome of golden tiles that illuminates the white houses around it.
Its enormous dimensions call the attention of those who walk by its façade. It is framed by two large towers and a baroque style façade made of white marble. Upon entering you can enjoy its Corinthian columns, its 16 chapels in addition to the main altar, the choir and the crypt where Cadiz personalities, such as the carnival composer Manuel de Falla are buried.
La Viña Neighborhood
Formerly, this central neighborhood of Cádiz was full of vineyards, hence its name. Today it is one of the most popular neighborhoods and, par excellence, the neighborhood of the carnivals. Through its emblematic buildings, such as the Provincial Hospice, the churches of La Palma and Santa Catalina, you can enjoy the typical architecture of Cádiz.
Plaza de las Flores and Central Market
The Plaza de las Flores or Topete, is presided over by the Post Office building, unmistakable for its red brick facade and white bands. It is popularly known as the Plaza de las Flores because of its various flower shops that attract both visitors and locals.
A few meters from the square you will find the Mercado Central de Abastos. Indispensable in your visit if you want to know the rhythm of the city as the locals live it. Here you will find both fresh quality products and a wide variety of stalls where you can enjoy the most typical dishes of the area.
This is one of the main viewpoints of the city. It is located inside the palace house of the Marquises of Recaño. Its 45 meters high allow a full view of the charms of Cadiz and, in addition, inside is the Camera Obscura, an optical system that reflects on a screen scenes from outside in real time.
San Juan de Dios Square
Here you will find the City Hall, with a neoclassical facade, the Church of San Juan de Dios, with a baroque interior, and the Casa de los Pazos Miranda. Undoubtedly, it is a unique place to enjoy some delicious tapas in one of its terraces with the Cadiz sun as a companion.
A stroll through the Genovés Park
The Genovés Park is the lung of the city. Its charm is unmatched and it is the perfect place to relax and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the city. The park has up to 100 different species of trees and shrubs, and a small lake known as “La Gruta”.
La Caleta and its castles
The sunset in La Caleta is considered a gift for the senses, presided over by the mythical old Balneario de La Palma and flanked by the castles of Santa Catalina and San Sebastian.
Its 450 meters of beach are the meeting point for a large number of families, mostly from the neighborhood of La Viña, located just behind.
The Castle of Santa Catalina, a fortification of the XVll century on rocky reefs that go into the sea. Its main function was to protect the northwest front from pirate attacks and was later used as a military prison.
On the other hand, the Castle of San Sebastian, was built in the early seventeenth century to protect the northern front of the city. Over time it has undergone several renovations such as the construction of a pier to connect the island with the historic center and casemates inside.
The Carnival of Cadiz and the Gran Teatro Falla
The Carnival of Cadiz, declared of International Tourist Interest and of Cultural Tourist Interest (BIC). It is considered one of the most genuine and important festivals in Spain. For weeks, there are numerous groups that perform a large repertoire of witty lyrics and with a great critical and ironic character. It can be enjoyed both in the street, to the delight of locals and visitors, and, of course, in the temple of carnival: the Gran Teatro Falla.
It is named after the favorite son of the city, Manuel de Falla, currently in the crypt of the Cathedral. The Theater is of neo-Mudejar style and is located in the Plaza Fragela, in front of the Casa de las Viudas. It does not go unnoticed among tourists thanks to its red brick facade with three large horseshoe arch doors.
During the month of February, the Falla reaches its maximum splendor receiving more than 1,200 spectators during the “Concurso de Agrupaciones del Carnaval de Cádiz”.
We hope you find our guide of must-see places in Cadiz interesting. If you have any questions please contact us and we will be happy to help you.
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