Through the Bahía de Cádiz Natural Park and its rich history, San Fernando demonstrates everything it has to offer its visitors. Learn more about this municipality, which is located just 14 kilometers from the capital of Cádiz.
Bahía de Cádiz Natural Park Visitor Center
East Visitor Center It is located on the Carretera de Camposoto. It is a site that shows us what the ecosystem that surrounds not only San Fernando, but the entire Bay of Cádiz is like.
Inside, it has a reception area where tourists are informed about the themes, guided tours and workshops for children. The interpretive exhibition part is more than 150 square meters; In this place it is possible to see the fauna, the flora and even the model of a salt house.
Until the last century, there were families who lived in a salt pan. Nowadays, there are no salt houses dedicated to the artisan production of salt, and the few salt flats that remain have been converted into restaurants or leisure areas. The center also has a specialized library, study and meeting room.
In relation to its exterior, on the second floor of the center we can enjoy a bird observatory to see the different species of the Bahía de Cádiz Natural Park. They also have a picnic area. and in the garden there is an explanatory path to learn about the vegetation of the place.
A museum to explore the past of San Fernando
Notes on San Romualdo Castle
In principle, It is probably a fortified convent built during the reign of Alfonso X ‘el Sabio’. The castle was abandoned for many years, and passed into private hands at the beginning of the 20th century. It was even used as a home, a restaurant and a glass and aluminum workshop.
Years later, the San Fernando City Council acquired it in order to restore it.. Currently, the Municipal Historical Museum is located there.
The prehistory of San Fernando
At the entrance we are greeted by a unique Neolithic burial in Spain. A man of about 35 years and a young woman of about 14 years appear; as the image shows, they were buried with their arms and legs intertwined.
Despite not knowing their relationship with certainty, the position may indicate that they were a couple. Hence the nickname by which they are known: ‘The lovers of San Fernando’. It was excavated and discovered by the professor of prehistory at the University of Cádiz, Eduardo Vijande.
Also, You can also see a video with the recreation of life forms 6000 years ago, which includes aspects such as the cabins they inhabited and practices such as livestock, agriculture, hunting and fishing.
the pottery industry
The main pre-Roman economic activities were fishing, salt extraction, dye production and the pottery industry. Vicente Castañeda, professor of prehistory at the University of Cádiz, carried out two excavations of pottery ovens in the 1990s. Today, part of the material found in these archaeological interventions is exhibited in the showcases of this museum.
We can also see a model with a small boat, the nets, the fish washing and cutting area and the salting pool area with mountains of salt. In another part of the model, we can see the ceramic kilns and their drying and disposal areas.
In these ovens, in addition to amphorae —which were large vessels to transport the wine— you can see the oil or the garum, famous fish sauce with which tableware was made, and terracotta figures for religious use.
The temple of Melqart
The famous temple dedicated to Melkart, the Phoenician god, protector of sailors, would be located in the area of the Santi Petri Castle. For these Phoenician navigators, this temple was the last thing to come before crossing the famous Pillars of Hercules in the Strait of Gibraltar, on the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
Several statuettes of Phoenician idols stand out in the museum. It is also impressive to see replica of a full-length sculpture of Emperor Trajan, found in this area. The original is in the Museum of Cádiz.
The Muslim era in San Fernando
In the museum we can contemplate several showcases with ceramics from the Almohad period —jugs, oil lamps, bowls and pots—, both from terrestrial and underwater excavations, the latter belonging to a sunken shipwreck. To finish, we do it through a set of pieces from which we highlight glass bottles from the 18th century, coins and a set of religious medals.
San Fernando, a place to return
This walk between the environment of the Bahía de Cádiz Natural Park and the oldest history of this city cannot be left here. San Fernando also stands out for its gastronomy, for the Teatro de Las Cortes and, of course, for its flamenco, who is known by names like Camarón, Niña Pastori or Sara Baras.