Defining somewhere like Cádiz means submerging oneself in the depths of myth and legend. The city is thought to be one of the oldest of Western civilisation and is located around the astounding bay of Cádiz. It’s almost as if Hercules planted one of his feet here to hold up the sky.
Cádiz lies at the mouth of the Gualquivir river, the entrance to the heart of Andalusia. It is built on an isthmus accessed by a long, narrow causeway from the north. Strategically, this feature has been of primary importance to the various vagabonds, invaders, settlers and pirates that, throughout its history, clawed or fought their way ashore.
Without doubt, the masters of Cádiz have historically been the owners of the trade routes throughout the Mediterranean. The earliest traders to exploit the area of Cádiz were the Phoenicians, who established bases both in Cádiz and in Puerto de Santa María a little further north. The port became increasingly important for trade across the region is not the basis for a traditional maritime economy and local expertise in shipbuilding.
Cádiz has always been considered to be an fiercely independent city. It holds the distinction of being one of the places that Napoleon was unable to subdue during the Peninsula War of the early 19th century and it was here in 1812 that the first, albeit unsuccessful, Spanish constitution was proclaimed by the government in exile.
Today, Cádiz has regained some of its lost commercial splendour. Shipbuilding is still one of the main industries although, because of its many attractions and its easy access to some spectacular natural countryside, tourism is increasingly important.