Cadiz Spain is not only the oldest city in Western Europe, but it is also the southernmost European capital. Cadiz is said to be founded by Hercules, whose name was Melkart. Phoenicians from Tyre in Lebanon foundedCadiz in 1,100 BC, and was known to them as “Gadir.”
They used it as a base for amber trading, and later the Romans took it as a naval outpost. Christopher Columbus set sail on his second journey to the New World from Cádiz in 1493, and his fourth journey in 1502.
Cadiz stands on a peninsula jutting out into a bay, and is almost entirely surrounded by water. It is located in southern Spain, in the region of Andalusia. Its coastline is part of the Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light) and features numerous golden sandy beaches, including everything from beaches in urban areas to extensive, practically unspoiled stretches of sand.
It has three festivals of International Tourist Interest: the prestigious Carnival of Cadiz, the unique horse racing events on the beach at Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and the elegant Horse Fair in Jerez de la Frontera. 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.
Part of the province also lies within the Doñana National Park, and there are also another five nature reserves in Cadiz’s exceptional natural environment. Its most important monuments are the Cathedral, the Church of Santa Cruz, the Castles of Santa Catalina and San Sebastián and the Puertas de Tierra (the old gate of the city).
The city has many beaches: La Caleta beach, in the old part, and La Victoria, Santa María del Mar and Cortadura beaches in the new part of the city. Above it are big skies which, given the guaranteed 300 days of sun a year, are almost always blue and bright, hence the name given to this stretch of the Atlantic coast, Costa de la Luz, or coast of light.