Cadiz's Plazas Walking Tour, Cadiz

Cadiz's Plazas Walking Tour (Self Guided), Cadiz

Nicknamed "the silver cup" for its location on a small peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic, in southwestern Spain, the coastal city of Cadiz indeed resembles a small silver cup and has a unique urban layout and architecture.

Cadiz's architectural scene is a blend of various styles and influences, such as Moorish, Baroque, and Neoclassical, reflecting its rich history and cultural heritage. The city's historic center is one of the most densely populated urban areas in Europe and is characterized by narrow streets and alleys lined with buildings featuring white-washed walls and colorful balconies.

Still, the most notable feature of the Old Town is the lively plazas, which are an important element of Cadiz's tapestry. These plazas serve as social hubs and gathering places that bring together citizens and visitors from all walks of life while ranging in size and style. Many of the local plazas are historic, dating back centuries, and thus offer a glimpse into the city's past.

Among the most prominent of them is Plaza de Espana, the city's main square, located in the heart of the Old Town. Other notable squares include Plaza San Juan de Dios, Plaza de las Flores, and Plaza de Mina, all of which are found in different parts of Cadiz and well worth exploring for their own unique charm and character, should you have a chance to visit this beautiful city.

"A full plaza makes for a happy heart," they say, meaning that the more people gather, the happier and livelier the atmosphere becomes. This expression is particularly true of Cadiz, reflecting the important role of plazas in the local social and cultural life.
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Cadiz's Plazas Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Cadiz's Plazas Walking Tour
Guide Location: Spain » Cadiz (See other walking tours in Cadiz)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
Author: nataly
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Cadiz Cathedral and Square
  • Saint John of God Square (Plaza de San Juan de Dios) and Old Town Hall
  • Plaza de la Candelaria (Candelaria Square)
  • Plaza de Las Flores (Flower Square)
  • Plaza de San Antonio (San Antonio Square)
  • Plaza de Mina (Mina Square)
  • Plaza de España (Spain Square)
Cadiz Cathedral and Square

1) Cadiz Cathedral and Square (must see)

The 18th century was the golden time of Cadiz. Rich with wealth from the Americas, it was important to have a cathedral grander and taller than the Giralda of Seville (the bell tower of Seville Cathedral). The effort was started by architect Vicente de Acero, who had also built the Granada Cathedral. Acero quit in a dispute with the Head of Works in 1739.

This period of construction under different architects lasted until 1838. The project was carried on successively by architects Gaspar Cayon, Miguel Olivares, Manuel Machuca and finished by Juan Daura. This resulted in a series of styles morphing from Baroque to Rococo to Neoclassical.

The Cathedral is laid out in the traditional Latin cross plan. It has three naves and a pentagonal ambulatory. Except for the dome top of the ambulatory, the vaults are supported by rows of Corinthian columns. The altar is raised. Under it is a spacious crypt. Chapels are in the naves. In the choir are two highly valued great organs.

The 184-foot Clock Tower, also known as Levante Tower, is a principal attraction of the Cathedral. The top of the tower offers vast panoramic views of the El Populo district, the ocean, the South Field (Campo del Sur), the Promenade, and the city's harbor. The Cathedral shares the Square with its 1669 predecessor church, Old Cathedral (Catedral Vieja), dedicated to the Holy Cross.

The Square was part of the urban reform of 1721 that also ultimately produced the (new) Cathedral of Cadiz. Houses were demolished to create an open space before the Cathedral. The Square is not a regular shape. It runs parallel to the seashore and is paved with white marble.

The Rose Arch (Arco de la Rosa) is an access gate to the Town Castle. It was also a passageway to the old Tablas Square (Plaza de las Tablas), which was re-formed to become Cathedral Square. Besides the Cathedral and the old Church of Santa Cruz, the square is home to the Jesuit Church of Santiago, built in 1563.

Saint John of God Square (Plaza de San Juan de Dios) and Old Town Hall

2) Saint John of God Square (Plaza de San Juan de Dios) and Old Town Hall

Saint John of God Square (La Plaza de San Juan de Dios), the primary square in Cadiz, is also called Corredera Square (Plaza de la Corredera). The ancient port of Cadiz was situated on islands just outside the inner harbor. As in so many other medieval cities, the square was established outside the city walls. Access was through the sea-facing gate, today the "Arch of the People."

The square was constructed in the 15th century, partly on land reclaimed from the sea. The walls of the city facing the sea were demolished in 1906, and the area of the square was enlarged. In the 18th century, the Consistorial Houses built in the previous century were demolished to make way for the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall).

The "Isabelline" Gothic facade of the Town Hall was added in 1865 by architect Manuel Garcia del Alamo. The pediment of the facade holds a bas-relief of the god Hercules, the reputed founder of Cadiz, which was then called Gadeira. The town is old, even by European standards. It was old when Hannibal came to visit in the Second Punic War.
Plaza de la Candelaria (Candelaria Square)

3) Plaza de la Candelaria (Candelaria Square)

Candelaria Square (Plaza de la Candelaria) is a historical square located in Cadiz. It is one of the oldest squares in the city, and its trapezoidal floor plan gives it a unique shape. The outer pavement of the square is lined with elms on the outer edge, which are gradually being replaced by other species such as hackberry. In the inner part of the sidewalk, a row of bitter orange trees can be found, which fills the square with the intense scent of their orange blossoms during the spring season.

In the parterres of the square, one can find some striking specimens of tree species. These add to the beauty and uniqueness of the square, creating a natural contrast to the surrounding architecture.

The houses bordering the square were constructed mostly at the end of the 19th century, and they exhibit predominant elements of the Romantic era. Among them, house number 15, also known as Oviedo Asylum (Asilo de Oviedo), stands out for its Elizabethan style, with pilasters and corbels featuring figures of eagles attached to the facade. House number 6, constructed in 1906, is also noteworthy as it combines glass and iron architecture.

One of the most characteristic features of Candelaria Square is the bronze statue of Emilio Castelar, a Spanish politician, journalist, and historian. Castelar was a great orator and served as the last president of the First Republic. The statue, created by Eduardo Barrón in 1906, is located in the center of the square and serves as a reminder of the city's rich history.

The square was once part of the Monastery of La Candelaria, and after its demolition, it was enlarged to become the spacious square we know today. It has remained a popular destination for both tourists and locals, and it is an attractive spot for anyone visiting the city of Cadiz.
Plaza de Las Flores (Flower Square)

4) Plaza de Las Flores (Flower Square)

Flower Square (Plaza de las Flores), located in the heart of Cadiz, is a bustling urban square that is a must-visit for anyone exploring the city. The most notable feature of the place is its colorful flower stalls that occupy the central area, lending the square a vibrant and lively atmosphere. During the Carnival celebrations, the square comes alive even more, as many of the street theaters and performances are concentrated in the vicinity of Liberty Square (Plaza de La Libertad).

However, Flower Square is not just a beautiful and bustling square, it is also steeped in history and architectural marvels. It was once home to the Convent of the Shoeless (Convento de los Descalzos), but with its closure, the Post Office and Telegraph building was inaugurated in 1930. This building is a beautiful example of eclectic regionalist forms made of bricks with decorative elements in glazed ceramic. It stands in contrast to the traditional architecture of the surrounding area, making it a unique and noteworthy sight to behold.

When exploring Flower Square, be sure to take a look at building number 1, which was built in 1746. This building boasts the typical Baroque facade of Cadiz and is framed by pilasters, adding to its grandeur and elegance. Another building of note is number 12, which is a neoclassical work by architect Torcuato Benjumeda. The upper body of this building is articulated by giant Doric pilasters, making it a stunning example of neoclassical architecture.
Plaza de San Antonio (San Antonio Square)

5) Plaza de San Antonio (San Antonio Square)

San Antonio Square (Plaza de San Antonio), located in Cadiz, is a significant and historic square that serves as one of the city's nerve centers. Originally called Field of Rockrose (Campo de Jara), it gained its current name in the mid-17th century when the hermitage dedicated to San Antonio was constructed. The well of the same name, which had supplied the city with drinking water for many years, is situated close by.

During the 18th century, the square underwent a significant urban expansion and became a hub for commercial and religious activities, integrating the current Saint John of God Square (Plaza de San Juan de Dios). It is notable for being the site where the Constitution of 1812 was proclaimed and for being the location of the brutal suppression of the liberal movement of 1820.

The buildings that encircle San Antonio Square are of great interest, showcasing an impressive uniformity of proportions, save for the slender façade of the Church of Sant'Antonio. The Casino Gaditano, built in the 18th century, is a Baroque-style building that underwent a renovation in the Elizabethan style in 1857. Its patio and rooms feature rich Neo-Mudejar decorations created by the Sevillian artist Adolfo Lopez Rodriguez in 1890.

Another building of note in the square is the headquarters of the old Aramburu Bank (Banca Aramburu). It has an 18th-century frontispiece in white marble with pillars in the second section, while the façade was modernized in a modernist style by architect Juan Cabrera Latorre in 1910.

The House Museum of the Cádiz writer José María Pemán is another highlight of San Antonio Square. The museum, which now houses temporary exhibitions and displays, is of significant historical interest and attracts a diverse range of visitors.

San Antonio Square is a remarkable place, offering a fascinating glimpse into the history and cultural richness of Cadiz.
Plaza de Mina (Mina Square)

6) Plaza de Mina (Mina Square)

Mina Square (Plaza de Mina), located in the heart of Cadiz's historic core, is a public square that has captivated both residents and visitors for many years. Originally owned by the Catholic Church, the land was eventually transferred into public ownership, and the square was built in the mid-19th century, featuring a monument to war hero Espoz y Mina. However, subsequent rebuilds saw major changes made to the place, resulting in the disappearance of the statue.

Despite the many changes, Mina Square still retains its 19th-century charm, and the stately buildings that surround it are a testament to its rich history. Visitors seeking refuge from the heat can find shade under the tall palms and other trees that line the paths of the plaza.

As you wander around the fringes of the park, be sure to take note of the many interesting buildings that encircle the space. One such building is the birthplace of renowned composer Manuel de Falla, which is marked by a plaque.

The eastern edge of the square is home to the impressive Museum of Cadiz. Inside, visitors can discover collections dedicated to fine arts, ethnography, and archaeology, including the Phoenician sarcophagi, which are a highlight of the museum.

Mina Square is conveniently located in the heart of downtown, making it a perfect starting point for exploring other places of interest in Cadiz. Just a 15-minute walk from the city's main train station, the square is also close to other notable attractions such as Spain Square (Plaza de España), the Saint Francis Convent (Convento de San Francisco), and the port.

Mina Square is a must-visit for anyone exploring Cadiz. Its rich history, stunning architecture, and convenient location make it an ideal destination for those looking to soak up the vibrant culture and history of this beautiful Spanish city.
Plaza de España (Spain Square)

7) Plaza de España (Spain Square)

Spain Square (Plaza de España) in Cadiz is an ideal place to unwind and bask in the sun while surrounded by stunning 18th-century buildings and a verdant park. The square's focal point is a towering white monument dedicated to the Spanish Constitution of 1812, which was one of the first written constitutions. The monument was designed by architect Modesto López Otero and sculpted by Aniceto Marinas and features two bronze figures on horseback representing war and peace, and a statue of Hercules, a symbol of Cadiz city.

Aside from the monument, the square is also home to several other important buildings. The Customs Palace (Palacio de la Aduana), which boasts an elegant neoclassical facade with imposing columns and a grand entranceway, serves as the headquarters of the provincial government. Another noteworthy structure is the House of the Five Towers, comprising houses numbered 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, built in the latter half of the 18th century. This building is a prime example of the Baroque architectural style transitioning to Neoclassical, featuring five sentry-style lookout towers belonging to each of the houses connected by parapets and multilinear walls.

Furthermore, the square's north side is lined with homes that belong to the San Carlos neighborhood and showcase the most intriguing architecture typical of the late 18th century.

Walking Tours in Cadiz, Spain

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