It was founded by Phoenician sailors about 3,000 years ago, as a commercial stronghold. Later it was controlled by the Greek and the Carthaginians, and under Roman rule it became a thriving port. Between 711 and 1262 it was controlled by the Moors. In the early 16th century Cádiz attained great splendor as a launching point for the journey to the newly discovered lands of America. Archeological remains from the early rulers can be found all around the old town. Today the city of Cádiz has a population of around 130,000, and in its metropolitan area there are about 630,000 inhabitants.
Among the many landmarks of historical and scenic interest in Cádiz, a few stands out. One of the most famous landmarks is the Cathedral. It sits on a site of an older cathedral, completed in 1260 but burned down in 1596. The reconstruction, which was not started until 1776, was supervised by the same architect, who had also build the Granada Cathedral. It was build over a period of 116 years and during that time it underwent several major changes to its original design. Cádiz also has a magnificent Roman Theatre. It was constructed during the first century BC, and is the second largest Roman theater in the world, surpassed only by the theater of Pompeii, south of Rome.
The Old Town of Cádiz, bordered from the sea by the City Walls, is characterised by its narrow streets connecting into magnificent squares, like Plaza de Mina, Plaza San Antonio, Plaza de Candelaria, Plaza de San Juan de Dios and Plaza de España. Most of the landmark buildings are situated in the squares. New areas of Cádiz typically have wide avenues and more modern buildings. In addition, the city is dotted by numerous parks where exotic plants, including giant trees supposedly brought to Spain by Columbus, flourish.
Cádiz is furthermore home to some of Spain's most beautiful beaches. La Playa de la Caleta is the best loved beach of Cádiz. It is the beach of the Old City, situated between two castles, San Sebastian and Santa Catalina. In the newer part of Cádiz, La Playa de la Victoria is the most visited beach by tourists and locals. It is about three kilometers long, with an average width of fifty meters of sand. It is separated from the city by an avenue; on the landward side of the avenue, there are many shops and restaurants. Playita de las Mujeres is a small beach with an excellent view of the old district of Cádiz.
The closest airport is in Jerez, approximately 30 minutes by car or taxi, one hour by direct bus. If you choose to take a taxi, ask for a fixed price, it should be around 50 Euros. From Jerez there are several daily flights to and from Madrid and Barcelona, and some low cost airlines with scheduled flights to the UK and other places in Europe. Jerez airport is also serviced by charter flights and seasonal flights. The nearest airport is Seville, approximately an hour by car or two hours by bus or train.