Have a walk along Cádiz of the Constitution (1812)

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  • San Fernando
  • Oratorio San Felipe Neri
  • Real Teatro de las Cortes de San Fernando.JPG
  • Chiclana de la Frontera
  • Sarcófagos fenicios del Museo Provincial de Cádiz
  • Vista aérea del monumento a las Cortes de Cádiz de 1812
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Ideal weekend or bank holiday escape or whenever you have a free couple of days to discover two cities, Cádiz and San Fernando where the Constitution of 1812 was proclaimed and where the Cortes that made it possible convened. Visit the emblematic landmarks, live every moment detailed by a group of historical tour guides will tell what occurred in those days, enjoy some of the traditional dishes of the era in any number of traditional bars and restaurants, look upon places where historical events took place such as the Cortes Theatre, the Main Cathedral (San Fernando), the Oratory of San Felipe Neri, the church of El Carmen, the Monument to the Constitution of 1812, etc. (Cádiz)

Day 1 and 2

Dedicate these to the city of Cádiz, take the tour of the Constitution and then discover other tours full of history and culture.

Morning: Have an enjoyable breakfast of churros with chocolate or coffee in one of the bars around the Market or the Plaza de San Francisco.

After this we begin the tour, which is always on foot, through Cádiz "La Tacita de Plata" (The little silver cup), which passes through Plaza de España, which is one of the most emblematic sites today. From there you see the Cortes Monument, which was constructed to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Constitution by the Council of Cádiz, former Customs. It was from here that the proclamation of the Constitution began, where the constitutional text was read for the first time.. This is the beginning of the route that continues along the Alameda Apodaca facing the Bay, one of the most beautiful walks in Cádiz, dating back to 1617 and was a place of enjoyment and relaxation for residents of Cádiz.

At the end of the Alameda is the baroque style church of el Carmen. This is the place where they held the "Te Deum" in thanksgiving for the conclusion of the constitutional text.

Near this church it is essential to make a stop at the Plaza del Mentidero, ancient Cruz de la Verdad, which was chosen as the site to read, for a second time, the text of the Constitution.

At mealtimes sample the tapas cuisine of Cádiz; sit in a restaurant or one of the many bars in town suggested in the Gastronomic Guide of the Province of Cadiz

Afternoon: After a rest, the afternoon may be spent with other activities such as:

Ø A visit to the Museum of Cadiz that contains an interesting collection of primarily Phoenician and Roman art and which highlights a Phoenician sarcophagi, and in the Fine Arts section there are important paintings by Zurbarán, among others. Visit the Roman Theatre, the second largest in Spain (currently undergoing reformation and will be open soon).

Ø See the Bay from the air- Aeroclub Jerez (Telf:956237014)

Ø Take a hike on the nature paths of Parque Natural Bahía de Cádiz 

Ø You can see take a sea cruise on the Bahía de Cádiz in spring and summer.

For dinner, go to the barrio de la Viña, barrio del Carnaval for tapas at the Casa Manteca tavern, a peculiar place that has become a classic in the barrio, at the bar of the el El Faro restaurant, try the different typical tapas of Cadíz, and do not leave without trying the Spanish Shrimp Omelette (tortillitas de camarones), the city's quintessential tapa. In summer you can enjoy Mackerel with diced tomatoes, green peppers and onion (caballa con piriñaca) in any sidewalk cafe along the calle la Palma or in the Plaza del Tío de la Tiza.

DAY 2

The second day we continue our historical tour of Cádiz of the Constitution during the morning. We meet at el Mentidero, and continue along calle Veedor and at No. 3 we find a beautiful XVIII Century palace where the Duke of Wellington lived, who led Spanish-English troops during the Cádiz Cortes. Inside, in the patio there is a very pleasant café to sit and enjoy a bite to eat or something to drink.

Next we arrive at the Plaza de San Antonio, neurological center of the city and witness to the 3rd proclamation of the constitutional text. It is also known as the Plaza de la Constitución. It was the civic and religious center of the XIX Century and still preserves beautiful buildings with the architecture of the times. Did you know that the first Spanish National Lottery drawing was held in Cádiz, May 4, 1812? The costs incurred in the defence against the French made it necessary to raise funds for which the Cortes established the Spanish National Lottery in March of that year. There is a commemorative plaque that marks the site in this plaza. Some of the most beautiful houses of the era can be seen there; el Casino, la casa Aramburu, etc.

Upon leaving we proceed down calle Ancha and then through calle San José until coming to the Oratory of San Felipe Neri, a prominent site for the Constitution of 1812; it was here where the Magna Carta was conceived and signed and also where the doceañista delegates debated. To commemorate its 100th Anniversary, numerous plaques dedicated to the national and foreign delegates were hung. Next to the building is the Center of Interpretation of the Pepa 1812 (Centro de Interpretación de La Pepa 1812), the tour includes the first two floors for the exposition of three thematic groups.

In the adjacent building is the Museum de las Cortes de Cádiz. The main attractions are a large-size model of the city in 1777, made from fine wood and ivory as well as the stained glass on the main staircase, which allegorically recreates the pledging of the Constitution.

The next step of the tour brings us to Torre Tavira, officially designated watchtower for the port of Cadiz in 1778 due to it being the highest point in the historic centre of the city and from where all commercial maritime traffic in the port could be controlled. Currently it contains a tourist attraction, the Darkroom (La Camera Oscura) in which the city is reflected in real time and motion, from its roof, you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Cádiz.

After climbing the Tower, the tour takes us to an indispensable stop, the Food Market, with its surprising variety of products, especially fish and seafood. You will also have the opportunity to try different food products and taste wines in its Gastronomic Corner , fresh-made sushi with fresh products from the market, cheese from all over Spain, delicious Iberian products, Argentinian food, tapas from Cordoba, etc.

From there and passing through the commercial and historical centre we head for calle Ancha, which was the aristocratic centre of the city and the quintessential promenade. After this, we make for the plaza de San Francisco, where we find a church of the same name whose bell tower also served as a watchtower during the siege, ringing the bells to prevent French attacks.

There is also a street of the same name full of shops, bars, bodegas, wine houses, etc., where the cuisine of Cádiz may be enjoyed; this happens to be the birthplace of the French omelette , due to the difficulty of finding potatoes to do the Spanish omelette because of the siege. The people of Cádiz had to make due with only eggs for their omelettes and thus named them French Omelettes.

Lunch: a nice lunch of fish and shellfish from the bay would be the finishing touch for this intense morning; try the bar-restaurant Terraza in the plaza of the Cathedral to enjoy lunch with great views or the restaurant El Baluarte, in the Alameda Apodaca overlooking the Bay. As well, next to City Hall on calle Plocia there are all types of different restaurants and tapas bars.

Afternoon: For this second day, once the Bicentennial tour is finished, we suggest complementing your visit to this 300 year-old city as there is still much to discover. And the best after an eventful day is to sit down and have a bite to eat or drink and watch the sunset and the best place, without a doubt, is La Caleta beach.

We suggest:

*The old Cathedral (Chruch of Santa Cruz - XVII Century) and the new Cathedral (XVIII Century)

*La Caleta beach with two castles; San Sebastián and Santa Catalina, ideal to have a bite to eat or drink while watching the sunset. Walk from La Caleta to the Campo del Sur. If you want to see if Havana really is Cádiz and Cádiz really is Havana do not miss this walk along the sea.

*Visit to the Lithographic Museum, located in the Puertas de Tierra fortress, at the entrance of the historical center of the city. Its origin lies in the ancient German lithograph of Cádiz, installed in 1861 and operated creating artistic prints until the end of the XX Century.It is one of the few museums of this type in Spain and the most complete; a national hallmark.

*Reina Sofía Cultural Centre with the art collection of one of the best sculptors of the XX Century, Juan Luis Vasallo, among many other expositions.

*Casa de Iberoamérica, former Royal Prison (Cárcel Real) presents expositions, mostly from Latin America, throughout the year.

*Contemporary Creative Space (ECCO, Espacio de Creación Contemporáneo), recently inaugurated it hosts various modern and avant-garde art expositions.

*Oratory of Santa Cueva on  Rosario street, where you can discover Goya´s frescoes; a historical place that inspired the baroque musician Joseph Hayden after visiting the city in order to compose the Oratory of the "Seven Last Words of Christ".

*Something more recreational: an enjoyable bike ride through the city and always along the sea. You can rent bikes from Sights and Bikes on  Cardenal Zapata street,  and from Bike and City on Cobo street.

Night: You can go to tapas bars in barrio del Pópulo, barrio medieval, the oldest in Cádiz; near City Hall, on Plocia and Sopranis streets; the bars near the Plaza de Mina, the La Cava tavern or the flamenco clubs of the city to catch some flamenco shows.

Drinks: For drinks there are several options; in general throughout the year people go out in the historical centre due to the different bars and pubs.

During the summer the atmosphere also includes the beach area. The seafront, full of bars, restaurants and taverns, beach bars and side walk cafés throughout the city, outdoor concerts, etc. all add to the nightlife.

Links of Interest

Cadiz Promotion Tourist Board

Tourist Guides of Cádiz- guided tours

Cultural Activities

Carnival of Cádiz - celebrated in February on the streets of the city Declared an event of International Tourist Interest

Spring Break - March/April

Music Festival "Manuel de Falla"- May

International Puppet Festival - May

Flamenco shows - Every Thursday throughout July and August

Festival Alcances (cinema - September)

Ibero-American Drama Festival (FIT- October)

"Tosantos" fair, los Mercados fair - End of October

Spanish Music Festival (November)

International Dance Festival - November

Day 3 - San Fernando

Surrounded by the Cádiz Bay Natural Park (Parque Natural Bahía de Cádiz), only 8 kms from the city of Cádiz, the ancient Isle of León offers an interesting landscape of marshes, salt flats and dunes.

It was September 24, 1810 when one of the most relevant events in the history San Fernando occurred when for the first time the General and Extraordinary Cortes of Spain were convened in the midst of the invasion of the Napoleonic armies.

In the Real Villa of the Isle of León, the only stronghold, along with Cádiz, not taken by the French army, the Cortes were gathered from September 24, 1810 until February 20, 1811, the date in which they moved to Cádiz.

At City Hall of the Villa Real of the Isle of León, an eclectic neoclassic building, they met for the first time on the morning of September 24, 1810. The delegates of the General and Extraordinary Cortes then went to the parish church of San Pedro and San Pablo (Priori Church) and celebrated the Holy Mass. From there the delegates walked to the most ideal place to hold the Cortes sessions, the Comedy Theatre of the Isle, today called Real Teatro de Las Cortes.

With a great military tradition in the past, San Fernando was of strategic importance to the Navy that led to the construction of buildings that today stand as evidence of their importance: The Arsenal of La Carraca, the Marine Observatory, a first class scientific centre that established official Spanish time, the Pantheon of illustrious sailors, San Carlos Hospital.

In addition to those mentioned above, we suggest other places to visit and enjoy:

*Castillo de San Romualdo, a Ribat or fortified Arabic convent that seems to correspond to the last moments of the medieval period.

*A seafront that runs along the caño de Sancti-Petri from the area around Puente Zuazo, near the castle, that served as a natural defence to repel attacks by the French army.

*Hiking excursions in Parque Natural de la Bahía (Tel: 956243474)

*Botanical Garden, a visit we recommend for the beauty of the facilities.

*Ancient town of Sancti-Petri, on the beach of the same name, to taste exquisite fish and seafood, walks along the bay or boat tours to get close to see the island and the Castillo de Sancti Petri, ancient temple dedicated to the god Melkarth (Roman Hercules).

*Visit to a salt flat to learn about this ancient salt extraction industry with the possibility of attending a harvest at Salina San Vicente.

*Seaweed tour to learn all about the process involved to convert seaweed into a gastronomical and therapeutic product.

For tapas, lunch or dinner you can go to the city centre, however we recommend you consult the provincial gastronomic guide.

Links of Interest

San Fernando Tourism

C/ Real, 26.
Telephone: 956 944 226 - 7. Fax: 956 944 055.