Located in the emblematic building of the Captaincy General and renovated to house its important historic collection according to museum criteria in an orderly and didactic manner. It is an exhibition with two discourses organised on two floors. The first floor, chronological, tells the history of the Cádiz Maritime Department from its origins to the present day. It is a tour from the dawn of the 18th century, from 1717, as a result of a reorganisation of the State with the arrival of Phillip V, the first Bourbon monarch in Spain. It continues with its subsequent transfer to Villa de la Real Isla de León, now San Fernando, in 1768, and the important naval construction work that was carried out in the second half of the century to make up an outstanding navy in accordance with its time, driven by men of the stature of the Marquis of La Ensenada y Antonio Valdés. The 19th century is represented through a series of navy battles framed in the context of the Napoleonic Period, whose maximum exponent was the Site of Cadiz during the Spanish War of Independence, whose consequences were felt throughout the entire century. This first display ends with examples of the 20th century Navy, its technological development and the expression achieved in its last third up to the present day.
The second exhibition discourse follows a monographic scheme in accordance with all the objects that show the everyday nature of work and life in the Spanish Navy throughout its history. They are spaces allocated to exhibiting part of the museum’s most outstanding collections, such as pieces of naval models to learn about the evolution of sailing; most representative Navy uniforms and flags, which are true historic jewels; in addition to objects that serve to understand the importance of the training of Spanish sailors through the 18th Academy of Sea Cadets, now the Military Naval School, in addition to its school vessel, the Juan Sebastián de Elcano. The Navy Infantry, the oldest corps in the world; specialities such as the Naval Artillery or the development of naval health thanks to the Cádiz College of Surgery in the 18th century are just some of these monographic rooms that can be seen. Finally, the exhibition concludes with a tour of the facts and events of the history of Spain driven by the Navy from the area comprised of Cádiz Bay, as in the case of the Route to the Indies once the new continent was discovered with all that that entailed. The important fleet of gallies that were anchored during winter in the Cádiz Port of Santa María, and from where they left for Lepanto. And not forgetting what were the great exploratory expeditions of the 18th century, essential for new cartography and scientific hydrography and which contributed to the knowledge of both the current morphology of the land and to sailing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
At the mouth of the channel of the same name is the island of Sancti Petri. Sources of Classical Antiquity place in this area the famous temple of Melkart, a divinity of Phoenician origin that links with the cult of Hercules (Rome) and Heracles (Greece). The current fortress was built in the 18th century. It is a magical place of great beauty where the Cultural, Historical, Natural and Landscape Heritage are combined.
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.
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.