The oldest district of Cadiz is El Populo, and during medieval times, like many cities, it had a wall. You entered via a gate like this one.
The building material for this gate and the wall itself, as well as much of the construction in all of Cadiz is called “oyster stone”. Here’s how it looks up close.
It looks like it made by accumulations of shells that over millions of years became fossilized and solid. It’s very rough to the touch, and also very durable. Lots of stuff built with oyster stone has been around a very long time.
After entering through the main gate, today you find a cafe/theater called Pay-Pay.
Pay-Pay has been both famous and infamous for a long time. It was well-known as a place where a long-travelling sailor could get an intimate welcome home.
Looking around El Populo a bit more, you may notice how the street corners are protected with metal. This is pretty common in old towns, because it’s so easy for vehicles to bash the corners when turning in the narrow streets. Here’s how some look in Cadiz.
Any idea what they are? One clue is that they were installed shortly after Cadiz held off a siege by the French during Napoleonic times. In a great example of swords to plowshares, they are recycled canons. In my opinion, a much better use.
From El Populo, walking toward the ocean, you will find a place where four cultures intersect, and the border between old and new Cadiz. When I took this picture, I was standing on that special spot, and this is “Little Havana”, so-called because this shoreline is similar to it’s namesake in Cuba.
In the other direction is the new town of Cadiz, and its shoreline is called “Cali-cadiz”, because it resembles parts of the California coast.
Also in view from this spot are four different cultures. First, there are Phoenician sarcophagi in a small museum across the street.
Next, there is the excavation of the Roman theater that was discovered only in the 1980’s. I’ll say more about this in a later post, but for now, here’s the view from the magic spot where I’m standing.
Next, is a mosque, just past the Phoenician and Roman artifacts.
Finally, in the distance you can see a steeple of the Christian cathedral.
I learned all this courtesy of our city guide, Anna.
Oh yeah, one more thing before I close. For the sea cat lovers.