Cadiz is considered to be one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in Western Europe, founded by the Phonecians in 1104 BC.
People from Cadiz call themselves Gaditanos, from the Phoenecian name Gadir. This became Gādēs in Latin and then Qādis in Arabic, which is the origin of the current name.
The oldest part of the city, the Casco Antiguo, is a maze of alleys and squares whereas the newer parts of the city have wide avenues and more modern developments. However, because Cadiz is built on a sand spit, there are no tall buildings as the required foundations cannot go deep enough. Consequently the street layout in the old town has remained virtually unchanged since medieval times.
Following is a suggested walk to give you a basic handle on the layout of the old town.
Historically the main land entrance to the Casco Antiguo would have been the Puertas de Tierra, just a short walk from the Hotel Monte Puertatierra where I was staying.
They were built originally in the sixteenth century but had to be modified in the twentieth to allow traffic through. These are the only remaining parts of the walls to my knowledge.
Once through the walls, if you veer right along Avenida Cuesta de Las Calesas, you’ll find the bus and railway stations on your right and this facade on your left.
Go straight past them until you come to Calle Plocia where there are a couple of nice houses on your left.
At the end of Plocia is Plaza de San Juan de Dios where you’ll find the town hall. In the picture it has been illuminated for carnival. It’s not usually bright pink!
Go out of the West side of the square and along Calle Pelota and you’ll come to Plaza de la Catedral, a pleasant square with palm trees and an old stone gate.
As its name would suggest there is a nice cathedral in the square.
Go out of the north west corner of Plaza de la Catedral and go straight along Calle Compañía, you will come to the petite Plaza Topete at the west end of which is the central post office.
The lion head post boxes along the side wall are the same as those of the central post office in Valencia.
Adjoining Plaza Topete to the south west is Plaza Libertad with the Mercado Central at its centre. It was closed when I went so sadly I didn’t get any pictures. These prawns were in the Carrefour next door!
All the squares mentioned are ground zero for street partying during carnival.
So that’s my very brief survey of some of the main sights. I only had two nights in town so please don’t consider this an authoritative guide, I’m sure there’s lots more to see.