After the Anglo-Dutch sack of the city in 1596, King Felipe II sent the engineer Cristóbal de Rojas to Cádiz to carry out a defense project. Rojas considered that the quickest and most effective way to protect the city was to design a fortification in the bay of Santa Catalina. So, in order to defend the most vulnerable maritime borders of the city of Cádiz, the fortress of Santa Catalina was built.
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The building represents an important example of modern military architecture and has survived to this day without any major changes or warfare damage. It has a star-shaped plan with two well defined fronts. One is formed by triangular bastions that rest on the beach and the other open towards the city where the only gate to the enclosure is located. This is protected by two bastions and a moat/ditch which used to regulate the level of water through various locks. Access is across a bridge to a simple door protected by an upper guardhouse. Here there is a plaque that commemorates the completion of the works during the reign of Felipe II.
Inside the fortress, the different pavilions are organized around a parade ground. The chapel of Santa Catalina was built in 1693.
The fortress has been transformed into a large multipurpose cultural and leisure space which includes temporary exhibition halls, educational workshops for students. Artistic, craft workshops and concerts are also organized in the Plaza de las Armas del Castillo along with outdoor activities during the summer.
Ask in the tourist office or your hotel for information about any upcoming events here.
- Monday to Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
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