Islet and castle of Sancti Petri and the pipe that gives them their name (between the municipalities of San Fernando and Chiclana de la Frontera) are historically linked to one of the most important and famous temples of antiquity: the temple of Melqart (or Melkart) – Hercules.
Mythological historiography attributes the foundation of Cadiz to Hercules. He would have arrived in the area during one of his Twelve Labors: the theft of the bulls from King Geryon of Tartessos.
The representation of the figure of this “founding hero” appears in the current coats of arms of Cadiz, the province of Cadiz and Andalusia.
The fame of the temple spread throughout the Mediterranean. Classical writers such as Strabo, Philostratus or Posidonius narrate the visit of characters such as the Carthaginians Hannibal and Hannibal Barca and the Roman Julius Caesar. They say that Hannibal offered his vows before undertaking the conquest of the Italic peninsula. They also say that Julius Caesar wept before the statue of Alexander the Great, because, being of the same age, he had not yet reached the glory of the Macedonian.
These stories and legends are explained in a didactic way during the visits.
We can also learn interesting facts about the tuna fishery (almadrabas); the construction of the castle and the defense of the coast of Cadiz at different times in history or the environmental values of the island of Sancti Petri. In addition, this unique space hosts activities such as astronomy workshops, sunsets, concerts, gastronomic events, and bird watching, among many others.
The privileged geographic location of Isla de León on the coast made this a more or less stable settlement site of man since very faraway times. This led to the exploitation of marine resources, especially for conserved and salted goods. This conservation industry created another auxiliary one: the pottery maker, necessary to manufacture the containers (the pots). The Phoenician and Punic furnaces are exhibited in the rotunda of the same name and constitute an exceptional complex in the west, both for the high number of production structures excavated and for their state of preservation. In it, the remains of two important pottery workshops related to the city of Gadir are exhibited: the Late-Punic pottery of Alta Tower and the Phoenician furnaces of Camposoto Sector III.
Inaugurated in 1804, it is a building of great historic and artistic value. In September 1810, it housed the first sessions of the Cortes Generales and Cortes Extraordinarias of the Parliament that gave rise to the first Spanish Constitution, for which its interior underwent a renovation. This building, declared a Constitutional Monument, has since then had several uses. It boasts the Royal title and was declared a Historic Monument in 1935.
It is a defensive navy complex that protected the land entrance to the Island and Cádiz. The bridge, of Roman origin, owes its current layout to the Renaissance era, from when it began to be fortified with knights and batteries. It has remains of the shipyard that gave rise to the La Carraca Naval Station.
Although it is difficult to date it. Diverse investigations place the origin of the San Romualdo Castle in the 13th century. It is inserted in the line of medieval fortifications Cadiz of the Atlantic coast along with the castles of Rota and El Puerto de Santa Maria. In 1931 it was declared a National Historic Monument.
Dating back to 1733, it is the oldest religious building preserved in the city. Here is venerated the Virgen del Carmen, patron saint of the city and the Navy. It was the scene of some sessions of the Cortes de Cádiz and in its enclosure was granted to the then Villa de la Real Isla de León, the current name of San Fernando and the title of City in the year 1813, in recognition of its work during the War of Independence and its constitutional role.
During the War of Independence this place plays an important historical role being the seat of the Council of Regency of Spain, which convenes the Cortes in September 1810. For this reason, the Religious Sisters were transferred to Cadiz, adapting these facilities for state offices, troop lodging and hospital. This educational center, established in 1760, continues to perform educational functions today.
Due to the population increase experienced in Villa de la Real Isla de León, construction on this temple began in 1756. The original design was done by the architect Alejandro Perdía, slightly modified by a French engineer and completed by Torcuato J. Benjumeda. Baroque in style in the first body and Neoclassical in its towers, this place bore witness to an important historic event which was depicted by the painter José Casado del Alisal in a painting that decorates the east wall of the floor of the Congress of Deputies in Madrid.
The Royal Institute and Observatory of the Navy in San Fernando is an important scientific center and the oldest observatory in Spain. Its origins date back to the 18th century. It is located on the hill of Torre Alta and is an important example of neoclassical architecture. It is here where the official time of Spain is established.
The existence of the Real Carenero shipyard was the background to the conception of the construction of this 18th century industrial enclave. This led to the repair duties performed by that enclosure being transferred and expanded with the creation of the new La Carraca Naval Station. The enclosure’s initial plans date from 1720, its layout being very organic and functional. Years later, the main gate of the wharf, the dry pit, the Battalion Barracks and the Penal de las Cuatro Torres prison were all built, with the other buildings completed in the late 18th century, that is, the General Warehouse Gate, the New Church and the Puerta de Tierra, all pure Neoclassical in style.
The building boasts being the largest Town Hall in Andalusia and the third largest in Spain. Its construction work began with the architect Torcuato Cayón in the mid-18th century, but continued up to the 19th century, so there were several architects who left their imprint on the building, enabling us to discover and enjoy the different styles we find in its interior.