Study in Cadiz, Spain

Study in Cadiz, Spain

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Cadiz at sunset

The city of Cádiz is a municipality and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the province of Cádiz, one of eight cities that make up the autonomous community of Andalusia.

Cádiz, the oldest continuously inhabited city in Spain and one of the oldest in Western Europe, has been a major home port of the Spanish Navy since the accession of the Spanish Bourbons in the 18th century. The city is a member of the “Most Ancient European Towns Network.”  It is also the site of the University of Cádiz.

Despite its unique site—on a narrow slice of land surrounded by the sea—Cadiz is, in most respects, a typical Andalusian city with a wealth of attractive vistas and well-preserved historical landmarks. The older part of Cádiz, within the remnants of the city walls, is commonly referred to as the Old Town (Spanish: Casco Antiguo). It is characterized by the antiquity of its various quarters (barrios), among them El Pópulo, La Viña, and Santa María, which present a marked contrast to the newer areas of town. While the Old City's street plan consists of narrow meandering alleys connecting large plazas, newer areas of Cádiz typically have wide avenues and more modern buildings. In addition, the city is dotted with numerous parks where exotic plants flourish, including giant trees supposedly brought to Spain by Columbus from the New World.

Things to Do and See in Cadiz, Spain

Cadiz features many landmarks of historical importance and scenic interest, including an unusual cathedral of various architectural styles, a theater, an old municipal building, an 18th-century watchtower, a vestige of the ancient city wall and electrical pylons with an unusual modern design carrying cables across the Bay of Cádiz. The old town is characterized by narrow streets connecting a number of public squares (plazas), bordered by the sea and by the city walls. Most of the landmark buildings are situated in these plazas.

Torre Tavira

Visitors looking for a birds-eye view of beautiful Cadiz would be wise to head to the top of Torre Tavira (Tavira Tower). The city is known for its watchtowers and the Tavira Tower is the official watchtower of the city because of its location in the center of the city. Tavira Tower is also the highest point in Cadiz, standing more than 147 feet in the air. 

The first watchman of the tower—and its namesake—was Don Antonio Tavira. He would use a telescope to see ships transporting goods from the Americas. 

Cadiz Museum

Guests and tourists who want to learn more about the history of the city of Cadiz should visit the Cadiz Museum.  Here they’ll find a large Phoenician archeological section featuring two marble sarcophagi of a man and a woman from the 5th century B.C. Also found in the museum are pieces of jewelry, statuettes, ceramic jars and other Phoenician artifacts. Roman artifacts, such as statues of Roman emperors, are also found throughout the museum’s many rooms. 

The Gran Teatro Falla

The Gran Teatro Falla is a theater in Cadiz that was awarded a Certificate of Excellence in 2013. Located in the Plaza Fragela, construction on the theater, which was designed by well-known architect Adolfo Morales de los Rios, started in 1884. The foundation of the building was based on a wooden building called the Gran Teatro de Cadiz. 

The theater hosts an artistic competition every February known as the Carnival of Cadiz. Guests can also check out plays and concerts which regularly take place at various times throughout the year.

Oratory of La Santa Cueva

In Cadiz, the city's most important sight is the Oratory of La Santa Cueva, which stands for the Holy Cave. Volunteer guides are always available for guests who wish to take a tour of the cave and learn its history, features, etc.. Men used to meet every week so they could meditate on the Passion of Christ during the early 18th century. Eventually, the group was named the Brotherhood of the Santa Cueva and they called the Oratory home, back when it was just a cave.  The lower chapel of the Oratory of La Santa Cueva is where the cave once stood and is called the penitential chapel. The upper chapel is known as the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament and is full of luxurious design elements.

Travelers in the 19th century described Cádiz as a city rising like an illusion out of the ocean, its magnificent domes and spires peering out over the crashing waves. Even today it maintains a close connection with the sea, perched as it is on the small elongated island near the southern tip of Andalusia. The constraints of this unique geography make Cádiz reasonably compact, although the island manages–somehow–to accommodate 100,000 residents without spilling them out into the ocean. It's valuable location on the Atlantic coast overlooking the approach to the Straits of Gibraltar has made Cádiz a strategically important city for millennia, and the ages of its deep past are visible throughout this multilayered city.
The earliest inhabitants of the city now known as Cádiz were Phoenicians, members of an ancient seafaring civilization that dominated the Mediterranean Sea in the years before the rise of Greece. These merchants must have traveled a long way from their homes in modern-day Lebanon, and to this day no one is entirely sure what compelled them to establish a colony on this remote island along the Atlantic coast. Over the succeeding centuries, Cádiz–which had enormous value both as a military stronghold and as a trading post–came under the rule of several major Mediterranean empires (Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths, Byzantines, and Moors) before finally being conquered by Alphonso X of Castile. As Spain emerged on the world stage is a powerhouse of exploration and conquest, Cádiz served as one of its chief blue-water ports. in fact, it was from Cádiz that Christopher Columbus set out on his famous voyage of (accidental) discovery. The city today is packed with vestiges of this storied history, from ancient walls and fortresses to mosques and churches.
Throughout its extensive past, Cádiz has been known as a city of commerce, industry, navigation, and warfare–seldom if ever was it considered to be an eminent place of learning. In recent decades, the city has undertaken projects aimed at changing that fact. The University of Cádiz, founded in 1979, is exceedingly young by European standards and, at 18,000 students, it is relatively small as well. The date is somewhat misleading since the origins of many of the schools and departments within the University lie as far back as the 15th century, but in its early years it was almost exclusively a medical school–the other programs are not much older than a few decades. Nonetheless, the University of Cádiz has built up its reputation with considerable speed, particularly in the area of marine sciences. Today, it is one of the top destinations for aspiring marine scientists throughout the country.
Although Cádiz is not a college town in the typical sense, it is still an excellent place to get an education. Many foreign students opt to spend some time in Cádiz working on their Spanish, particularly if they have an interest in the history and culture of Spain as well as its language. This city by the sea abounds with educational opportunities and even a short stroll along its streets can feel like an object lesson in Spanish and European history.