The huge triangular pediment of the façade of the Town Hall (8), whose bells play a melody from Falla's "Three cornered hat" every hour, stands over the square, which shares its name, san Juan de Dios, with hospital and a church - both in baroque style. The square is situated in the heart of the El Populo district, one of the most traditional in the city, with is streets modelled in the style of medieval period, inside the walls which were constructed by Alfonso X, the Wise.
Above the Arco del Populo, one of the gates to the city which has been preserved once stood the image of the Virgen del Populo, which today has its own chapel. Thought to be the oldest quarter of fortified city, the nearby district of Santa Maria contains a Convent church (4) - with a magnificent altarpiece of the Brotherhood of El Nazareno, the Congress and Exhibition Hall (6), the old Tobacco Factory, and the Church Santo Domingo (5).
As we continue to walk trough the oldest parts of Cadiz, we come to the Plaza de la Cathedral Square, and the magnificent religious temple from which it takes its name (12). Declared a Site of Cultural interest, with a dome clad with gilded tiles, its interior is truly majestic, rich in marble and coloured jaspers. In its crypt lie the remains of Manuel de Falla and Jose Maria Peman.
We remain in the El Populo district, near to the Church of Santa Cruz (10), the Old Cathedral, constructed following the re-conquest, which forms a complex of building including the College of Santa Cruz and the Casa de la Contaduria - the latter housing the Cathedral museum (11). Between here and the Arco de los Blancos arch lie the beautifully preserved remains of the Roman Theatre (9), from the 1st century BC, which was constructed on the initiative of the Roman Balbo family.
A grand façade in the red and white Genoese marble crowned with two belvederetowers presides over the Plaza de San Martin, next to the Cathedral. It belongs to the Casa del Almirante (the Admiral's House) a 17th century palace with renaissance airs, which belonged to a merchant from Cadiz who had prospered through trade with the Indies. The handcrafts shop beneath the building contains a number of interesting archaeological remains. The nearby Posada del Meson - a good example of popular 18th century architecture, with attractive arcades and wooden galleries, and the Pay-Pay Café Theatre, an important cultural centre, are very near three gates of the medieval walled city, which have been preserved: the Arcos de Los Blancos, de la Rosa, and Populo gates.
In this there is a monumental to the liberal political figure Emilio Castelar who was born in Cadiz and become President of the First Republic. Next to the statue are two beautiful palatial houses, numbers 6 and 15, which are difficult to ignore. The latter has a façade with pilasters and corbels in the from of eagles, crowned by a balustrade which is a true decorative jewel.
The Casa de las Cadenas /The house of Chains/ (14), now used as the Provincial Historical Archive, is a 17th century palace which takes its name from the chains which are now part of its baroque, Genoese marble façade. These represent the privilege of immunity which was granted to the house after it provided shelter to the Corpus Christi procession in 1692.
The Plaza de las Flores is a thriving commercial area right in the centre of the city, containing the market, which is built on land belonging to the old Convent of the Discalced, and leads to the popular Calle Columela. In this important place, very much the heart of the city's social life, there is a heady mixture of aromas: the beautiful plants; the delicious fried fish which is sold by weight in the typical freidurias; and the traditional breakfast of churros.
Nearby are interesting buildings such as the Post Office, with its four facades in tile and brick, and the Hospital de Mujeres (Women's hospital) (32), which houses "Saint Francis in ecstasy", a work by el Greco.
The small but pretty Plaza de San Francisco contains typical taverns, restaurants and cafes where one can enjoy the local cuisine, as well as monumental buildings such as the baroque Convent Church (21), which houses works by Martínez Montañés and Pedro Roldán. The nearby Francia y París hotel, representative of the Belle Époque, is attractively positioned near to the lively pedestrianised area with its many shops. After admiring the extraordinary thousand year old Dragon tree which stands in the courtyard of the School of Arts and Crafts, in Calle Tinte, we recommend that you visit the Church of El Rosario (19) and the neoclassical Oratory of Santa Cueva (18), which has been declared a Site of Cultural Interest, and contains invaluable frescoes by Goya.
Constructed during the redevelopment of the Plazuela del Carbón, following the pulling down of the Wall, to commemorate the centenary of the 1812 Constitution, the Plaza de España (17) contains the emblematic Monumento a las Cortes (Monument to the Parliament). Surrounding it are the old Customs Office (16), today the Provincial Council, and the baroque Casa de las Cinco Torres (The Five -Towered House) a type of construction which was much in demand at one time by the merchants with the Indies, who used the belvederetowers to keep an eye on traffic in the port. Even today, the Port of Cadiz continues, as it always was, to be of considerable geographical and commercial importance. Lovers of culture should visit the Plaza de Argüelles, which contains the popular venue, "La Central Lechera", which offers a varied programme of music and alternative theatre.
This well known plaza, birthplace of the celebrated composer Manuel de Falla, contains, as well as various attractive palatial houses, the Provincial Museum of Archaeology and Fine Art (22). This has been declared a Site of Cultural Interest, and its displays include valuable remains such as the two Phoenician anthropoid sarcophagi found in different parts of the city, as well as important works by Murillo and Zurbarán. Calle Zorrilla, the best place in the city to sample tapas, takes us to the marvellous view over the sea afforded by the Jardines de la Alameda. These gardens contain ficus trees which are hundreds of years old and also a Monument to Marqués de Comillas, a well known ship-owner from the city.
The perfectly rectangular shape of the Plaza de San Antonio - which contains the house where Cadiz writer José María Pemán lived, is also the site of the Church of San Antonio (23), a 17th century baroque temple, which houses a number of important works of art. The Cadiz Casino and the Aramburu Palace, with an interior which reflects the taste of the bourgeoisie for flamboyance and luxury, are also to be found around the square. A brief stroll takes us to the Mentidero district, which along with that of Santa María, is well known for its traditional flavour and its association with flamenco. It also contains the very busy commercial street, Calle Ancha, and the Church of El Carmen (24), with its rococo 18th century altarpiece containing a sculpture of Virgen del Carmen attributed to La Rolanda.
During the Carnival celebrations, this is one of the liveliest parts of town, particularly because it is here that the Gran Teatro Falla stands (28). This attractive neo-Mudejar building is used each year to judge the Competition of Carnival Groups. Between this Plaza and the Plaza de Falla we come across the so-called Casa da las Viudas (The Widows' House) (27) - built to take in poor widows and orphans, and the Faculty of Medicine, which has its origins as the first centre for medical studies in Spain. Very nearby, the gardens of the Genovés Park, with its pools and fountains, will mesmerize visitors, who will also be fastened by the Oratory of San Felipe Neri (29). This National Monument, with its façade retaining commemorative stone plaques of the Centenary of the Parliament, has an Immaculate by Murillo in its main altarpiece.
The remains of the primitive but remodelled crossfire defensive system invented by Vauban to defend the coastal city from the attacks which it suffered throughout history, are an important part of the rich legacy of San Roque and Santa Elena. A stroll around Campo del Sur allows us to observe the defensive bastions of Los Mártires and Capuchinos, next to the popular La Calta beach, which is flanked on either side by the Castles of San Sebastián and Santa Catalina. In the Bastion of La Candelaria and the Walls of San Carlos. The Arco de la Rosa (Gate) is a remnant of the ancient wall which protected the city of Cadiz, and was constructed by order of Alfonso X the Wise, in the 13th century.
The coast area known as the "Tacita de Plata" offers exceptional scenery. From the Cathedral's Poniente Tower there are beautiful views of the Atlantic in all its majesty. The Paseo de la Alameda offers views of the bay, which can also be taken in from the deck of El Vaporcito (steam boat) Adriano III, an old boat declared an Attraction of Cultural Interest which for the past 45 years has been sailing the route form Cadiz to El Puerto de Santa María.
From the Tavira Tower, the tallest of the typical belvedere-towers which rise above the rooftops of Cadiz, there are views across the whole city, the La Caleta Beach, an ideal place to watch the sunset, and the La Victoria Beach, form which it is possible to make out the imposing Cathedral and the coloured houses in Campo del Sur.