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Cadiz

Cádiz

CadizCadiz is thought to be the oldest city in Europe, founded in 1100 BC by the Phoenicians who called it Gadir and traded Baltic amber and British tin, as well as Spanish silver. The city subsequently became a naval base for the Romans before fading into obscurity until 1262 when it was taken from the Muslims by Alfonso X.

Cadiz stands on a peninsula jutting out into a bay, and is almost entirely surrounded by water.. It attained great splendour in the early 16th century as a launching point for the journey to the newly discovered lands of America. Cadiz was later raided by Sir Francis Drake, in the struggle to gain control of trade with the New World, and managed to withstand a siege by Napoleon's army. In the early 19th century Cadiz be came the bastion of Spain's anti-monarchist, liberal movement, as a result of which the country's first Constitution was declared here in 1812.

CadizSome of the city's 18th century walls still stand, such as the Landward Gate. The old, central quarter of Cadiz is famous for its picturesque charm, and many of the buildings reflect the city's overseas links. Worth a visit are the city's Cathedral and churches of Santa Cruz and San Felipe Neri, which is famous throughout Spain as the place where, in defiance of Napoleon's siege, the provisional government was set up with its own liberal Constitution. Other points of interest are La Santa Cueva, home to several paintings by Goya, and stately mansions such as the Casa del Almirante and Casa de las Cadenas.

The old city looks quite Moorish in appearance and is intriguing with narrow cobbled streets opening onto small squares. The golden cupola of the cathedral looms high above long white houses and the whole place has a slightly dilapidated air. It just takes an hour to walk around the headlands where you can visit the entire old town and pass through some lovely parks with sweeping views of the bay.

This is a lovely city to visit, there are many typical bars and restaurants and if you walk along the narrow streets behind the cathedral, you will come across small, pretty squares and pavement bars, which serve up some of Andalucia's tastiest seafood treats.