Cadiz stands on a peninsula jutting out into a bay on Spain's southwestern coast, and is almost entirely surrounded by water. It is an intriguing and historic seaport from which Spain's galleons once sailed in quest of New World treasure. It is characterised by palm trees, look-out towers and weathered old buildings. Some 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.
Cadiz lies south of the mouth of the Guadalquivir River and the Doņana National Park. From here you can also visit Seville, Jerez de la Frontera, centre of Spain's sherry production, La Giralda, Casa de Pilatos and Reales Alcazares.
One of Western Europe's most ancient cities, founded 3,000 years ago by Phoenician merchants, Cadiz hugs Andalusia's sunlit Atlantic coast. In 1100 BC, Cadiz was established as a trading post by the Phoenicians and was later occupied by the Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths and Moors. Following Columbus' fifteenth century discovery of America, many treasures were brought back to the port, making Cadiz the wealthiest western European port. Due to its vast treasures, it was constantly attacked, and in 1587 Sir Francis Drake burned all the ships anchored in the bay. At the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, Britain's navy defeated the combined Spanish and French fleets off the coast of Cadiz. Britain's Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson fell at the battle, but the victory forced Napoleon to abandon his plan to invade England. In 1812 Ferdinand was captured and imprisoned in Cadiz but was released by the French.
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