Castillo de San Marcos

Plaza Alfonso X El Sabio. Puerto de Santa María. Cádiz

Cultural Visit

San Marcos Castle, located in El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz, was built in the 13th century configured as a border fortress-church with the Nasrid kingdom of Granada under the reign of Alfonso X the Wise, who took the population of Alcanatif and integrated it into the kingdom of Castilla y León.

San Marcos Castle is built in a key place both strategic and spiritual. The oldest construction on this site dates from the Ist century; a Roman temple built in what was the highest point of Portus Gaditanus, a small fishing village dedicated mainly to obtaining salt and fishing in the bay.

This structure was marked by the different vicissitudes faced by the entire surrounding area such as the Visigoth invasion and the subsequent Arab conquest from North Africa, transforming the temple into a church and mosque respectively.

With the population increase experienced by the entire Andalusian Caliphate in the 10th century, the Alcanatif village was founded where Portus Gaditanus once stood and, erecting the mosque that today keeps this emblematic castle. It is precisely the structure of the mosque that first stands out inside the Castle: a temple of “Córdoba” tradition that uses the marble columns of the now disappeared Roman temple to support the roof and the vaults inside the building.

Highlights in the mosque not only the horseshoe arches that are distributed throughout the space, but the Mihrab located in the Quibla wall. Mihrab that has endured to this day surviving 7 centuries of Christian worship.

After the capture of Alcanatif by Alfonso X, it became part of the kingdom of Castilla y León under the name of "Santa María del Puerto" and the same monarch ordered not only the conversion of the mosque into a Christian church but the beginning of the works to turn it, also, into a fortress and border post with the Nasrid kingdom of Granada, giving it the name of "Castillo de San Marcos" in honor of the onomastics of the day of the conquest of Alcanatif, on April 25th.

Until the 14th century, the Castle and the village of Santa María del Puerto were part of the crown of Castilla until Luis de la Cerda, the first Duke of Medinaceli, was granted the duchy who owns the castle until the 19th century and under his orders the different works of the castle of extensions and adhesions that we can see today were made.

The most representative dates from the 15th century, a period in which the ducal house invests a good amount of resources in the population, also financing the construction of the city's Basilica.

Already in the 19th century the ownership of the castle passes to the town hall that manages to keep it barely carrying out reforms and reconstructions trying to seek its conservation. Today, it belongs to the Caballero Group that has managed to maintain successfully and in good condition this emblematic monument of El Puerto de Santa María.

Schedule

From September to May

  • From Monday to Saturday,  10:00 to 17:00.
  • Sunday 10:00-15:00. 

From June to September 15th

  • From Monday to Sunday,  10:00 to 15:00 and 18:00 to 21:00 hs.
  • Sunday evening closed.

* The Schedule change due to extraordinary events.  We recommend to get your tickets for your visit in the following two months.

 

Location

Address:

Plaza Alfonso X El Sabio. Puerto de Santa María. Cádiz

How to get there:

Access through Ribera del Marisco, then calle Micaela Aramburu. 

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