As SailGP makes its final European stop for 2021 in Cádiz, Spain, we’ll take you on a tour to show you that there is much more to the city than sun, sea and sailing.
It’s not surprising that SailGP chose Cádiz to host their first ever event in Spain. Almost completely surrounded by water, Cádiz is located on a peninsula that juts out into the bay, making it ideal for the close-to-shore sailing action that SailGP is famous for. In fact, the city developed on this specific location due to its special relationship with the sea. Cádiz has always been an important hub on Spain’s appropriately named Costa de la Luz (the Coast of Light), with archaeological remains dating back as far as the 8th century BC. Founded by Phoenician traders as their first settlement in Europe, Cádiz was used as trading base for silver mined in the Rio Tinto mines. In Roman times, the dock was further developed as a naval base, and in the early 16th century, it became the port of departure to newly discovered Americas. So the city’s nautical connections have existed long before the SailGP crews flew in!
Its unique location lends an island-like atmosphere to the historic city centre, inviting tourists to wander through the narrow streets with sea spray on their faces and salt in their hair, the beach visible at almost every turn. The city’s past is recorded in buildings and monuments that were constructed in stone to commemorate events of great importance, standing the test of time. So let’s get out, learn more and explore the appealing city of Cádiz and its intriguing history captured in stone.
The road to liberalism
Where better to start the tour than at the Plaza de España, home to some of Cádiz’ most notable monuments. And let’s be honest, this square deserves a thorough tour of its own, as each monument was constructed to commemorate events of great importance to Cádiz.
Within the Plaza de España, each of the internal paths lead to the monument honouring the 1812 Constitution. Created in 1912, this impressive piece is the result of a collaboration between the architect, Modesto López Otero, and the sculptor, Aniceto Marinas García.
The Spanish Constitution of 1812
Throughout the early 19th century, Cádiz served as the stronghold for Spain's anti-monarchist, liberal movement. So it made sense that the country's first Constitution was declared in the city in 1812.
Often referred to as the Constitution of Cádiz or ‘La Pepa’, it was the first constitution of Spain and one of the earliest in the world. Defining Spanish and Spanish American liberalism for the early 19th century, its aim was to regenerate Spain through empowering local and provincial governments and opposing the traditional elites.
As a significant milestone in the history of Spain, its importance is reflected in the central monument at the Plaza de España. Erected in stone, this shrine to liberalism will last for centuries to come and educate and inspire future generations.