La Isla de León was born in the 18th century thanks to merchants who invested their profits from trade with the Indies and to the centralisation of the modern facilities of the Navy in the area, both because of its privileged geographical location and because of its traditional ship repair and supply activities.

La Isla de León takes off in the s. XVIII thanks to merchants who invest in it their profits from trade with the Indies and the centralization in its term of the modern installations of the Navy, both for its privileged geographical location and for its traditional ship repair and supply activities.

These reasons make this municipality acquire a special relevance in historical European events such as those experienced in the s. XIX, case of the battle of Trafalgar, highlighting in this sense the work carried out by the Arsenal de la Carraca as collected in the Chapter Acts of October 10, 1805, helping General Gravina in the preparation of the battle against the English ships .

Since the settlement in our city of the different military establishments, the history of the town and the Navy has been closely linked, to the point of sharing patronage. For all these reasons, the city has unique buildings of great beauty and importance that are presented as the pages of a history book to tell us about their role in certain moments of our past and present.

  • 01

    The Real Population of San Carlos arises at the end of the s. XVIII before the need to bring together the military in the smallest possible space. Francisco Sabatini’s ambitious original project was reduced mainly for reasons of an economic nature. In any case, in the Nueva Población de San Carlos the style of the Court prevails, the neoclassical, reaching its highest and most spectacular heights.

  • 02

    Magnificent neoclassical monument of oyster stone that, initially conceived as the Parish Church of the Nueva Población de San Carlos, began in 1786 but was not finished until 1854 due to the important historical events that took place. Inside, all the illustrious sailors have their place, and even those who remained anonymous have a symbolic tombstone dedicated to them.

    Thus, among the most significant mausoleums can be highlighted those dedicated to Cecilio Pujazón and José Lazaga y Ruiz, the work of the sculptor M. García González; the architectural ensemble for the tomb of Francio Armero and Fernández de Peñaranda, made by Antonio Ruiz de Salas; the mausoleum of Víctor Concas and the one erected in honor of the soldiers and classes of the navy.

    In this location, therefore, the history of the Navy was written and, by extension, that of Spain and Latin America from the s. XVIII to the present day.

  • 03

    The Non-commissioned Officers School of the Navy forms part of the historic and monumental complex that makes up the Military Town of San Carlos, built during 1775 and 1789, designed for the Royal Navy during the reign of Charles III.

    The exceptional building Carlos III, completed in 1798, is Neoclassical in style and has unique characteristics. It has five courtyards, the central one standing out: circular crowned in a glass mount and supported by eight ionic columns, and which is approached through two spiral staircases with a very peculiar feature, since despite leading to the same courtyard, they cross and do not join together.
    Both staircases are adorned with 17th century Delft tiles from Holland.

  • 04

    The Battalion Barracks Historic Room summarises the history of the Navy being barracked here, as well as the Navy Infantry units since its construction; uniforms, weapons and characteristic material of this Corps.

    The Sala consists of three different spaces: The Barracks History Room, the Main Room and the Library.

  • 05

    This building was conceived with the aim of connecting the town of San Carlos and the La Carraca Naval Station by land. The bridge currently has a single lowered arch. Its name was chosen in honour of the Marquis of Ureña, to whom the city of San Fernando owes so much.

  • 06

    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.

  • 07

    The first two marine entities that moved to the Island of León were the Academy of Marine Guards and the General Command of the Department. The latter was installed at number 185 Calle Real, occupied by a magnificent baroque-influenced bourgeois dwelling, where it lived until 1769.

    Thus, the current location of this building dates from the second half of the 18th century, although its current physiognomy is the result of various reforms. Among them, the one carried out in 1917 by Vicente Sánchez de Cerquero, a frigate engineer, stands out, in which it was practically rebuilt. Later it was expanded with adjoining land, undergoing new reforms and the facade acquiring its current appearance.

  • 08

    Located in the historic building of the old Naval Captaincy General in San Fernando, its purpose is to disseminate the history of the presence of the Spanish Navy in the city.

    The thread running through the exhibition theme has been laid out in different themed areas, from the historical context of the Navy in Cádiz Bay to its evolution to the present day, participation in different naval battles nationally and overseas, scientific instruments and their evolution to the present day, training of Spanish sailors, and not forgetting important illustrious persons.

  • 09

    The religious building that we know today was built at the end of the s. XVIII by the Navy due to the need to have its own parish, reforming in 1929 and 1966.

    In this temple we find the most interesting Victorian collection in the city: three large canvases made by Mariano Salvador Maella, chamber painter of SM Carlos III and director of the Fine Arts of San Fernando, who were commissioned by the Marquis of Ureña.

  • 10

    This scientific and technical center presents a set of singularities that make it a point of reference, at a national and international level, in almost all the fields in which it operates. It has always been linked to Higher Education since its foundation as the “Midship Guards Academy” to the present day as the “School of Higher Studies in Physical-Mathematical Sciences”.

    The Institution, founded in 1753 by Jorge Juan, has been a pioneer in Spain in practically all of its main tasks, generating a database throughout its more than 260 years of existence that forms a fundamental heritage.
    Its library, thanks to the conjunction of teaching, practice and research, has been growing in importance, collaborating in it with the efforts of Jorge Juan and Tofiño, to increase and consolidate its collections. Thus, the four incunabula that the library houses are of great value due to their antiquity and the peculiar numbers they provide in astronomical matters.

  • 11

    Defensive naval 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.

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