Foundations of Spain

Today you will join me on a trip to Cádiz’s past. We will travel first to la Plaza de la Catedral to visit the famous Cathedral, and later we will find ourselves in el Torre Tavira


First, the Cathedral. We enter and receive audio devices that will guide us through the Cathedral. We visit first the Chapel of the Assumption, the first of the pictures shown below. Next is the Saint Sebastian Chapel. We notice then the beautiful high ceilings. We then walk to the center of the Cathedral, and view the impressive High Altar.

You see the entrance to the Crypt and we decide to descend into the dim light of the underground space. We observe tombs and other artifacts and learn their history from the audio tour.

Emerging from the Crypt, we continue our path around the Cathedral, stopping by the Saint Tomas of Villanova Chapel, the San Servatius Chapel, and the Chapel of the Relics/the Chapel of the Tabernacle where we keep quiet, as silence is mandatory.

We also view the Saint Germain Chapel, The Corpus Christi Monstrance, made entirely of silver, and the Saint Joseph Chapel, where we learn about the restoration of the Crucifix.

We then enter the Sacristy, where we view relics of the past, as well as a hand washing station with a Latin inscription. Finally, we look at the Chapel of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Exiting the Cathedral, we make our way to the Cathedral tower, and make the climb up the spiral ramp to the top. At the very end of the ramp we ascend a spiral staircase, and what a view! The tan and white buildings and the gorgeous blue ocean lie before us. We then notice the three bells of the bell tower, and suddenly a loud pang sounds from one of the bells, startling us. Once we have had our fill of the beautiful scene, we return to the ground.


Next on our agenda is el Torre Tavira. We walk there from the Cathedral and purchase tickets for a visit to the camera obscura, in the Torre Tavira. We climb with our tour guide up to the level where we view the picture. Our guide explains to us that a camera obscura, or a pinhole camera, gives a picture in real-time, made by light reflecting off of a mirror which projects the scene onto a blank screen.

Our guide turns off the lights and opens the window to the mirror, letting the light in through the opening in the ceiling and revealing a panorama of Cádiz. Our guide turns the device in a circle, and we see all of Cádiz, North to South and back again. Our guide explains that raising or lowering the platform with the screen on it puts into focus different distances.

We are given a virtual tour of the city, from the Cathedral to the Gran Teatro Falla, from the Castillo de Santa Catalina to the Punta Candelaria, and from the Mercado Central to the old vineyard. We learn interesting facts, such as the different types of towers in Cádiz, and why there are so many (to see when ships were arriving with goods to sell). We are told that there is only one natural road out of Cádiz, and that without it the city would be an island.


Thank you for accompanying me on our trip today! I had a great time and I hope you did too. My stay here in Cádiz thus far has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. It is still early in my stay, but already I have learned so much. Aside from practicing my Spanish I have practiced living with another culture and getting accustomed to the customs of the people of Spain: greetings, foods and eating at different times in the day, and so much more, things that are all foreign to me. I have learned about the rich history of the Iberian Peninsula and how this formed the Spanish nation as we know it today.

But there is still much to practice, learn, and experience, and so the journey continues…