Cádiz - The best views from the Tavira Tower and its Dark Chamber

Panoramic views of Cádiz from the terrace of the Tavira Tower

Regular readers of Travel Guides You know that if possible I like to start a city visit by going up to some terrace or gazebo to start seeing the best views.

The question is often if the visited city has an appropriate viewpoint for it, and in this way have the first visual contact with it, which places you better for the subsequent visit.

In the case of city ​​of Cádiz, which I visited recently, no doubt that place is the Tavira Tower, which is strategically located in the geographical center and highest elevation of the historic center of this Andalusian city.

Panoramic views of Cádiz from the terrace of the Tavira Tower

To understand the meaning of the Tavira Tower, we must take into account the long tradition of Commercial City that has had Cádiz since the time of the Phoenicians and the Romans.

But really the origin of the Tavira Tower It is in the great boom that had the commercial activity in Cádiz during the eighteenth century, when from 1717 through its port acquired the monopoly of maritime trade with America, which until then had had Seville.

By then the Council of the Indies and the Hiring House they settled in Cádiz, which led to the arrival of many Spanish and foreign merchants, who in their homes began to build towers in order to control the arrival of ships.

Watchtowers in the center of Cádiz seen from the Tavira Tower

At that time there were up to 160 towers, mostly in houses in the north and east, closer to the port.

Nowadays in Cádiz 129 towers are preserved, many of which can only be seen from the terraces of the buildings.

The Tavira Tower It was part of a typical merchant house, specifically Palace of the Marquises of Recalo.

Panoramic views of Cádiz from the Tavira Tower

The offices and warehouses were located on the ground floor of these merchant houses; the first floor was the residence of the lords of the house; and on the second floor, already with a less noble decoration, were the rooms of the servitude.

Finally, on the terrace stood the tower, which became a symbol of the merchant's wealth.

Specifically, the Tavira Tower It was declared in 1778 official watchtower.

Panoramic views of Cádiz from the terrace of the Tavira Tower

After years in which the building was abandoned, now the tower can be visited very close to the Flower square from the center of Cádiz.

Cádiz Dark Chamber

It was in 1994 when it was opened to the public after its rehabilitation to incorporate a very curious tourist attraction, a dark camera.

Dark Chamber in the Tavira Tower in Cádiz

The Dark camera It works with the use of lenses and a tube that reaches the outside, so that in a dark room the real moving images of the exterior are projected on a white curved table. The result is a very curious optical effect that allows you to see panoramic views of the city.

The first dark camera It was installed in Edinburgh in 1853, and today this device can be seen in operation in various cities around the world, such as Cape Town, Brighton, Havana or San Francisco.

Dark Chamber in the Tavira Tower in Cádiz

In Spain you can also see a dark camára in some cities, such as Santander, Sevilla, Jaén or Jerez de la Frontera.

This way you visit of the Tavira Tower It will develop in various phases. Is about Guided visits They start on the first floor where they will explain what a dark camera is and how it works.

In the room on the second floor of the tower you will enter the history of Cádiz as a commercial city between the 18th and 19th centuries and you will know the function and characteristics of the watchtowers.

Watchtower in the center of Cádiz

Then you will enter the dark camera where you can see this curious device in operation, and thus know the different monuments and areas that can be seen in the city.

Finally you will go up to the viewpoint terrace, from where you will have, no doubt, the best panoramic views of Cádiz.

Schedules Torre Tavira

The visiting hours of the Tavira Tower they are, from October to April, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from May to September, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The last session of the Dark camera It's half an hour before closing.

Panoramic views of Cádiz from the terrace of the Tavira Tower

Ticket prices are, generally, 6 euros; the reduced one, 5 euros, for seniors +65, students, large families and people with disabilities.

If you go to visit the Dark Chamber on a holiday or holiday season, I suggest that book in advance the time of your visit