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Culture and Leisure in Cadiz

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The province Cadiz offers some of the most beautiful and varied sights in Spain. Visitors readily lose themselves in its villages and cities, where local people are always friendly and willing to talk.

The city of Cadiz will surprise you with its rich cultural and historical heritage, and its ample offer of leisure activities to realize. One cannot miss its numerous baroque and neoclassic churches, specially: the new and old cathedrals. The new cathedral built between 1722 and 1853 and its museum displays some of the finest Spanish baroque, rococo and neoclassic architecture. The convent of Santo Domingo and the San Felipe Neri church played an important role in the history of the city and the country respectively, and, in the latter one can see, amongst others, a picture of the Immaculate Conception painted by the famous Spanish painter Murillo. Close to these, in the neoclassical Plaza Mina one can find the Museum of Cadiz with its collection of Phoenician and Roman archaeological findings, and its painting by artists of the size of Goya, Murillo, Zurbaran and Rubens.

Other places to visit include the Tavira Tower, with its dark chamber where, by means of a set of mirrors and lenses, one can see the entire city of Cadiz, the castles of San Sebastian and Santa Catalina, the Alameda Apodaca, the Falla theatre, archives and libraries, from a bird’s eye view.

Rivalling its vast cultural offer are the leisure activities that take place whether within its fortified walls or in Puertatierra. The February Carnival in Cadiz is one of the oldest and best known carnivals that take place in Spain. This carnival constitutes an international tourist attraction, and, people from all over come to enjoy and participate in its costumes and popular and ingenious songs (a word of caution: even other Spaniards have a hard time understanding the comical lyrics). Fourty days after carnival ends, in March or April, Holy Week takes place. This catholic celebration is a dramatic contrast to the pagan carnival. During Holy Week, thousands of Gaditanos parade rich baroque images of the Virgin and Jesus through its streets, accompanied by chamber music and the smell of flowers and frankincense. The carnation petal rain with which the Virgin of La Palma is received is specially striking. In May the city transforms, once again, to receive the Motorcycle Grand Prix which is held in the Jerez Circuit.

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Cadiz ist eine wunderbare Stadt. An jeder Ecke entdeckt man Neues: kleine lauschige Plätze oder eine Kirche oder den Blumenmarkt, eine Statue oder ein Denkmal. Der Strand ist einfach fantastisch, unendlich lang und voller Ueberraschungen. Von der Schule s.i.c. war ich sehr beeindruckt. Klein, aber fein. Alles pünktlich und die Lehrer sehr nett und zuvorkommend, aber streng. Ich habe sehr viel gelernt und profitiert in diesen 4 Wochen. Cadiz und die Schule sind wirklich einen Besuch wert.""

Ruth Derungs (Switzerland)

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