A tiny Spanish city-enclave of just 19 square kilometres on the Moroccan side of the Straits of Gibraltar, ceded to Madrid by the Portuguese over 400 years ago. The city is on a headland consisting of seven peaks, at the end of a narrow isthmus. The highest of them, Jebel Musa (thought to be the ancient Abila), is one of the two Pillars of Hercules. Ringed by the sea, the hilly streets of duty-free Ceuta have a unique atmosphere and heritage, European yet African, with sights that include the massive 14th century city walls, a pirate's castle, lakes, waterfalls and landscaped gardens.
Ceuta is on the site of a Carthaginian settlement where a Roman colony was later built. The Vandals took it from the Romans and lost it to Byzantium. It later became successively a possession of the Visigoths and the Arabs. The latter called it Sebta or Cibta, from which the modern name is derived. Ceuta became an important centre for the manufacture of brassware and for trade in slaves, gold, and ivory under later Berber and Spanish-Moorish rulers. The Portuguese captured the city in 1415 and the Spaniards in 1580. Moors laid siege to it unsuccessfully several times, one protracted siege lasting from 1694 to 1720.
The following 11 cruises call at Ceuta.
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