Top Historic Sights in Cádiz, Spain

Explore the historic highlights of Cádiz

Cádiz Cathedral

Cádiz Cathedral built between 1722 and 1838. The Plaza de la Catedral houses both the Cathedral and the Baroque Santiago church, built in 1635. The church was known as 'The Cathedral of The Americas' because it was built with money from the trade between Spain and America. The 18th century was a golden age for Cádiz, and the other cathedral that the city had got, Santa Cruz, was very small for this new mome ...
Founded: 1722-1838 | Location: Cádiz, Spain

Roman Theatre

The Roman theatre of Cádiz is an ancient structure discovered in 1980. The theatre, which was likely built during the 1st century BC and was one of the largest ever built in the Roman empire, was abandoned in the 4th century and, in the 13th century, a fortress was built on its ruins by order of King Alfonso X of Castile. The theatre featured a cavea with a diameter of more than 120 meters, and could house some 10,000 s ...
Founded: 1st century BCE | Location: Cádiz, Spain

Torre Tavira

Cádiz is known worldwide for its watchtowers. They are witness to the trade and prosperity which the city experienced in the 18th century. At this time, the Tavira Tower the official watchtower of Cádiz due to the fact that it is situated in the centre of town, and was also the highest point in the town at 45 meters above the sea level. Don Antonio Tavira was the first watchman of the tower and used his telescope to se ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Cádiz, Spain

Santa Catalina Fortress

Santa Catalina Fortress was built on a rocky outcrop that reaches out to sea. La Caleta beach is on one side, protecting it to the northwest. Built in the 17th century, it has an Italian-style star-shaped floor-plan, and served as a military prison.
Founded: 17th century | Location: Cádiz, Spain

Museum of Cádiz

The Museum of Cadiz was founded in 1970 after the merger of the Provincial Museum of Fine Arts with the Provincial Museum of Archaeology. It is on three floors, archaeology on the ground floor, art on the first, and puppets on the second floor. Entry is free for citizens of the European Union. The origin of the museum came in 1835, when art was confiscated from a monastery, including paintings by Zurbarán taken from the ...
Founded: 1970 | Location: Cádiz, Spain

Puertas de Tierra

Puertas de Tierra is a bastion-monument built around remnants of the old defensive wall at the entrance to the city of Cadiz. Built by academic architect Torcuato Cayón in the 18th century, the cover is carved in marble and was intended more as a religious altarpiece than as a military fortification. It is one of the most significant monuments of the city and on its walls flies the purple flag of its canton. The adjust ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Cádiz, Spain

San Sebastián Fortress

San Sebastián is a fortress located in Cádiz, at the end of La Caleta beach on a small island separated from the main city. According to the classical tradition of the location of the fortress, there was a Temple of Kronos, a Titan of the Greek gods, the father of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Demeter and Hera. In 1457, a chapel on the island was raised by a Venetian boat crew recovering from the plague. In 17 ...
Founded: 1706 | Location: Cádiz, Spain

San Lorenzo del Puntal Fortress

San Lorenzo del Puntal Castle is one of the oldest fortifications in Cádiz, built in 1587. It was attacked by British-Dutch fleet in 1595 without conquest. However, it was destroyed by another attack in the early 17th century and rebuilt in 1629.
Founded: 1587 | Location: Cádiz, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Luxembourg Palace

The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.

The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.

In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.

During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.

Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.

The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.

During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.