The strategic situation of Cadiz, at the entrance of the Cadiz Bay, has for thousands of years made it an attractive place for people of many different cultures. The 'Tacita del Plata' is considered the oldest city in the Western World. It was founded (in 1100 B.C.) by the Phoenicians, a seafaring people who turned Gadir into an important trading colony where the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Visigoths  and the Muslims would all subsequently settle. An open, cosmopolitan city, its port was chosen by Columbus as the point of departure for his second voyage to the New World. The city would then become, after the decline of Seville, the port to The Indies, drawing the flow of trade with the American Continent. This frantic commercial activity then brought about an era of economic, cultural splendour, when Baroque palaces with their characteristic towers offering amazing views were built. The Cathedral, which can be seen from the sea, and its golden tiled dome fit perfectly into the Cadiz cityscape with its colonial air. It combines both the Baroque and Neoclassical styles, and its treasure is amongst the most important in Spain. The intense trading activity with The Indies awakened the greedy interest of pirates, which led to the city being fortified. The remains of the original although renovated cross-fire defence system designed by Vauban make up an important part of the heritage of Cadiz. Las Puertas de Tierra, the city gates, retain sections of walls and semi-bastions such as those of San Roque and Santa Elena, on both sides. A stroll through the Campo del Sur affords the visitor a view of the Los Mártires and Capuchinos defence bastions, by La Caleta, which is guarded by San Sebastián and Santa Catalina Castles. Heading towards the boulevard Alameda Apodaca, the La Candelaria Bastion and the San Carlos Walls can also be seen. The Puertas de Tierra Walls clearly divide the new city regained from the sea –built along a great avenue and along the extensive, landscaped promenade– and the old. The historic centre of the city has narrow streets and small squares in popular districts such as La Viña – the fisherman’s district - the Mentidero, Santa María (true home of flamenco song) and El Pópulo.
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