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A City of Watchtowers

By Linda Tancs

Cádiz is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Spain. In fact, the Phoenicians named it Gadir and established a trading post there in 1100 B.C. It went on to become a thriving Roman port from which Christopher Columbus would later set sail for the New World. In the 18th century the city thrived thanks to international trade, a prosperity symbolized by its watchtowers. Approximately 160 watchtowers dominated the cityscape back then; over 100 remain today. The centerpiece is the Tavira Tower, located in the center of the city’s old town at its highest point above sea level. It’s named for the tower’s first watchman, Antonio Tavira.

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