After Cadiz was sacked in 1596, Santa Catalina castle was built to protect the natural harbor that leads into La Caleta beach.  The castle is still standing, mostly intact.

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The castle is protected by the sea on one side and a moat on the other.  This is the main and only gate, which faces the city,

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The moat is dry now and contains only grass and debris.

 

 

 

The castle was built in a star-shape that was very effective for defense.

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Inside is a large parade ground surrounded by various buildings.

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And of course, battlements and watch houses.

 

 

 

The battlements overlook both the open Atlantic and the bay.

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Within the castle is the chapel built in 1693.

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Many of the furnishings and artifacts inside the chapel are original.

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These weather-worn lions once stood guard above the gate,

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as in this old photo.

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After its use to defend the harbor, the castle was used as a prison.  I think this progression is common.  Castles were built for various strategic and political reasons, and designed to protect those inside from anyone outside.  They were effective protection until canons became powerful enough to breach stone walls.  At that point, castles could no longer keep a determined enemy outside.  However, they could still be very effective at keeping people inside, so many were made into prisons, and their story becomes shameful and tragic.  At Santa Catalina, nearly all signs of that time have been removed.

This is all I could find, hidden away in the back of an exhibit of the history of the police in Cadiz.

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I found the rest of the police exhibit unremarkable, except for these two vintage motorcycles.

 

 

The castle is used for various exhibits and cultural events like concerts these days.  It also provides studio space for artists.   Not much art was on display, though, just these quirky statues.

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I prefer the natural art of how new things co-exist with old.

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It’s gotten cool and cloudy again, so I have no idea what we’ll do today.  I like days with no plan.