It is the oldest astronomical observatory in Spain and the fourth in the world. Founded in 1753 by Jorge Juan, Spain’s official time is set at this centre which is one of the most important scientific centres in the world.
Among its fields of research, it is important to highlight the Time Section, which is comprised of a battery of atomic clocks that, since their installation in 1973, set and maintain the Coordinated Universal Time (CUT-ROA)
It is also worth mentioning the Geophysics Section, which since 1879 has worked without stopping.
The mission of the Astronomy Section has, since the Observatory’s founding, been to conduct observations and theoretical studies on positions of stars in the solar system. At the beginning, those that were necessary for the publication of the Nautical Almanac and the Astronomical Ephemeris and then, upon broadening its objective, all those that could be carried out with its instruments and working methods, primarily those recommended by the International Astronomical Union.
The Astronomy Section is divided into three services: Large Field Astrometry, Solar Astronomy and Meridian Astrometry.
This centre is the first geomagnetic observatory in Spain, so it also has a seismological station.
The Observatory’s Library is comprised of more than 30,000 volumes and its inventory has four incunabulum copies. It also has a historical and cultural legacy, with an important archive and bibliographic fund.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.