El Puerto de Santa María

El Puerto de Santa María (Spanish pronunciation: [el ˈpweɾto ðe ˈsanta maˈɾi.a], "The Port of Saint Mary"), locally known as El Puerto, is a municipality located on the banks of the Guadalete River in the province of Cádiz, Andalusia. As of 2016, the city has a population of c. 88,184, of which some 50,000 live in the urban center, and the remainder in the surrounding areas.

The town of El Puerto de Santa María is 10 kilometres (6 miles) north east of Cádiz across the bay of Cádiz .

El Puerto de Santa María
Puerto Santa Maria Andalusien Arena
Flag of El Puerto de Santa María

Coat of arms of El Puerto de Santa María

Coat of arms
La ciudad de los 100 palacios (The city of the 100 palaces)
Puerto de Menesteo
El Puerto de Santa María is located in Spain
El Puerto de Santa María
El Puerto de Santa María
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 36°36′N 6°13′W / 36.600°N 6.217°WCoordinates: 36°36′N 6°13′W / 36.600°N 6.217°W
Country Spain
Autonomous Community Andalusia
ComarcaBay of Cádiz
 • TypeAyuntamiento
 • MayorDavid de la Encina Ortega (PSOE)
 • Total159.34 km2 (61.52 sq mi)
0 m (0 ft)
 • Total88,364
 • Density550/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
Time zoneCET (GMT +1)
 • Summer (DST)CEST (GMT +2)
Post code
Area code(s)+34956
WebsiteOfficial website


According to the legend told in the Odyssey of Homer, after the Trojan War a Greek official named Menestheus escaped with his troops through the Straits of Gibraltar and reached the Guadalete River. They established themselves here and called that port Menestheus's port or Menesthei Portus (Greek: Μενεσθέως λιμήν). In its neighbourhood was the oracle of Menestheus (Greek: Μαντεῖον τοῦ Μενεσθέως), to whom, also, the inhabitants of Gades offered sacrifices.[2][3]

In 711, Arab (Moors) from the North of Africa conquered southern Spain. They renamed the place Alcante or Alcanatif which means Port of Salt, due to the old salt industry of Phoenicians and Romans.

In 1260, Alfonso X of Castile conquered the city from the Moors and renamed it Santa María del Puerto. He organized the land distribution and conceded a charter under the Crown of Castile. Having received a royal charter the city was then allowed to use the title "El" prior to the name of the city itself. This is a distinguishing property and even though Madrid is the capital of Spain it has not earned this distinction. In his Cantigas de Santa Maria CSM 367, Alfonso sings that he was miraculously healed of swollen legs after visiting his church of Santa Maríado Porto.

1500 map by Juan de la Cosa
De la Cosa's map.

Christopher Columbus's second expedition to the Americas set sail from El Puerto de Santa María. His pilot, Juan de la Cosa drew his world map (the first including the coast of New World) in El Puerto in 1500.

Columbus visited El Puerto in 1480 and received encouragement for his travel plans. He also met Juan de la Cosa who issued the first world map in 1500.

El Puerto was the residence of several wealthy cargadores, merchants who operated Spain's trade with the Americas.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, it was the winter port of the royal galleys.

In the nineteenth century the city became the General Headquarters for the French Army during the Peninsular War under the reign of Joseph Bonaparte (1801–1812).

The town is steeped in history, museums and monuments. It is also within easy reach of the historical cities of Seville and Cádiz.


Iglesia Prioral

El Puerto de Santa María is located on the Atlantic coast of the Bay of Cádiz, near the municipalities of Jerez de la Frontera, Rota, Puerto Real, and Cádiz. It is popular for its sherry and for its beaches, which are the town's principal tourist attraction. Well known beaches include Vistahermosa, Valdelagrana, and La Puntilla. Like many other southern cities, there are many smaller towns encompassed by the municipality. There is also a major port, known as Puerto Sherry. A large amount of land has been devoted to the Bay of Cádiz Nature Reserve.


Antigua Lonja

The most important economic activity is tourism, mainly because of the beaches, as well as the bullfights held at the arena during the summer. The town also hosts large groups of motorcyclists during the Jerez Motorcycle Grand Prix. There is commercial development in the center and periphery, and a highly developed wine industry.


Listed are a few of the main fiestas in the area:

  • Spring Carnival: Cádiz is the home of Carnival with fancy dress and parades in the streets usually ending on the Tuesday 47 days before Easter.
  • Semana Santa: Holy Week the week that leads up to Easter Sunday is a wonderful time to enjoy the area with its street parades and long lines of penitents and big crowds. In El Puerto de Santa María, there are daily parades from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.
  • Campeonato de España (Motorbikes Races): A weekend fiesta of music and dance in April World Championships of Motorcycling.
  • Feria del Vino Fino (Spring's fair): El Puerto de Santa María's local week of fiesta, dancing sherry drinking and sevillana dancing this is usually in the middle of May. This is the principal festival is the Feria de Primavera (Spring Fair), held between the fifth and sixth week after Holy Week. In recent years, it has coincided with May 1.
  • Romería del Rocio: Festive pilgrimage of up to one million people to the village of Rocio in Almonte, Huelva, usually around the third week of May.
  • Hogueras de San Juan: Midsummer bonfires and fireworks on the beaches in most areas of Cádiz on 23 June.
  • Dia de la Virgen del Carmen: One of the most popular Saint of El Puerto de Santa María and all fishermen is the Virgen Del Carmen, and on the 16th of July, her image (statue) is taken from the local Church, carried into the sea on board a fishing boat, and then paraded around the town. A general day of festivities.
  • Virgen de los Milagros: The saint of the city is La Virgen de los Milagros (Virgin of the Miracles). The festivity is on September the 8th. Her image is taken from the principal church and carried to the street, and then paraded around the town over a carpet of flowers. It is a local day of festivities.

Main sights

Plaza de Toros de El Puerto de Santa María 1
Bull ring
  • Bullring of El Puerto, which dates back to 1880 with space for 15,000 spectators.
  • Iglesia Mayor Prioral, known from 1486
  • Castle of San Marcos, a fortified church built over the remains of a 10th-century Islamic mosque. It was built by order of Alfonso X of Castile from 1364, also using parts of an ancient Roman edifice nearby.
  • Monastery of the Victory (early 16th century), built by the Dukes of Medinaceli
  • Hermitage of Santa Clara (16th-18th century)
  • Convent of the Holy Spirit (15th century)
  • Church of San Francisco (next to San Luis Gonzaga building)
  • Church of San Joaquín
  • Convent of Santo Domingo
  • Hospital of San Juan de Dios
  • Convent of Esclavas del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
  • Convent of La Concepción
  • Chapel of Aurora
  • Monastery of San Miguel
  • Hospital of Divina Providencia (Hospitalito)
  • Palace of Aranibar
  • Palace of Almirante Valdivieso
  • Antiguo Matadero
  • Palace of Imblusqueta
  • Palace of Marqués de Villarreal y Purullena
  • Palace of Álvarez-Cuevas
  • Casa Vizarrón (Casa de las cadenas)
  • Casa de los Rivas
  • Antiguo Pósito
  • Casa de los Diezmos
  • Fountain of Galeras
  • Casa de la Placilla
  • Casa de Roque Aguado
  • Fountain of prison
  • San Luis Gonzaga building
  • Antigua Aduana
  • Antigua Lonja ("Ancient Loggia"), located in the port and dating to the 18th century.
  • Museo Arqueológico Municipal
  • Several towers

El Puerto de Santa María is situated in the middle of the Parque natural Bahia de Cádiz. This include two square kilometres (1.2 mi) of pine forest which form one part of the three ecosystems in the area. An endangered species of chameleon along with other reptiles and birds of immense variety can be found in the forest. Egyptian mongoose can also be spotted in the area. The area boasts two other Natural parks, the Sierra de Grazalema and El Coto Donaña.

El Vaporcito
Panoramic view of the old ferry sailing across the Bay of Cádiz.


Bullfighting is still enjoyed during the Feria season during the month of August, and during the Feria de la Primavera (Spring Fair) in early May. This Feria is dedicated to sherry wine and 180,000 half bottles are drunk in 4 days. There are several bodegas (wineries) in the town centre, all of which can be visited by the public. The most famous bodegas in El Puerto are Osborne and Terry both of which export sherry and brandy worldwide. In the cellars of El Puerto, the dry, pale sherry known as Fino is produced using the traditional method called solera. This method produces Fino, the sweet Muscatel, Amontillado and the older Oloroso.

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

El Puerto de Santa María is twinned with:

Notable people


Playa de la Muralla desde el mar

"La Muralla" beach from the sea

Atardecer en Valdelagrana

Sunset in Valdelagrana

Castillo de San Marcos de El Puerto de Santa María 2009-07-07 (3)

San Marcos Castle


Ave María Square

La Amargura, paso de palio

Our Lady of Bitternes (Nuestra Señora de la Amargura)

Plaza de Toros de El Puerto de Santa María 9

Bull ring


Galeras fountain

Penitente pequeño


Desembocadura del río Guadalete

Guadalete River

Playa de la Puntilla con el espigón de fondo en bajamar (El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz)

Puntilla Beach

Carnaval 2007 El Puerto de Santa María

Carnival 2007

Ayuntamiento de El Puerto de Santa María

City Hall

San Bartolomé, esquina Los Moros (1)

San Bartolomé street

Monasterio de la Victoria 2009-12-27

Monastery of La Victoria


Lighthouse at the entrance of Puerto Sherry

Portada, Feria de Primavera y Fiesta del Vino Fino

Entrance, " Feria de Primavera y Fiesta del Vino Fino" (Festival of Spring and Feast of Vino Fino

See also


  1. ^ "Municipal Register of Spain 2018". National Statistics Institute. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  2. ^ STRABO, GEOGRAPHY, Book III, Chapter 1.9

External links

Abraham Paz

Abraham Paz Cruz (born 29 June 1979) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for Gibraltar Premier Division club St Joseph's as a central defender.

Bienve Marañón

Bienvenido Marañón Morejón (born 15 May 1986), commonly known as Bienve, is a Spanish footballer who plays for Filipino club Ceres–Negros F.C. as a right winger.

Castle of San Marcos (El Puerto de Santa María)

Castle of San Marcos (also Castillo de Alfonso X El Sabio) is a medieval castle located in El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz, Spain. The castle was erected as a fortified church by King Alfonso X of Castile. It was built on the site of a mosque of which the wall of the qibla survives.

Close to the castle there is a replica of the map of Juan de la Cosa and a little fountain.

Cádiz (wine region)

Cádiz is a Spanish appellation describing Vino de la Tierra wines whose terroir is located in the autonomous region of Andalusia. Vino de la Tierra is one step below the mainstream Denominación de Origen indication on the Spanish wine quality ladder.

The area covered by this geographical indication comprises the following municipalities: Arcos de la Frontera, Chiclana de la Frontera, Chipiona, El Puerto de Santa María, Jerez de la Frontera Prado del Rey, Puerto Real, Rota, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Olvera, Setenil, Villamartín, Bornos, Trebujena and San José del Valle, in the province of Cádiz (Andalusia, Spain).

It acquired its Vino de la Tierra status in 2005.

Enrique Montero

Enrique Montero Rodríguez (born 28 December 1954 in El Puerto de Santa María, Andalusia) is a Spanish retired footballer who played as a midfielder.

Eva Santamaría

Eva María Delgado Macías (born 18 October 1971 in El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz) better known as Eva Santamaría is a Spanish singer, known for representing Spain at the Eurovision Song Contest 1993 with her song "Hombres" (Men), composed by the journalist Carlos Toro.Before participating in the song festival, Santamaría became well known for participating in the musical television programs Gente Joven, El Salero and Las Coplas. She also collaborated with other artists on several albums and presented her own radio show on Radio Nacional de España. In the months before the Contest in early 1993, Carlos Toro helped Santamaría record her debut album A buen puerto (Successful) in Los Angeles, on which "Hombres" became a hit single. To date, however, this album was her only release.

Coming off the album's success, Televisión Española selected Santamaría to represent the network and all of Spain at Eurovision 1993 in Millstreet, Ireland, with her hit "Hombres." She beat out other popular singers such as Yossek and Julián Contreras. Her song placed eleventh out of 25 in the Contest.

Santamaría did not pursue her pop career after disagreements with her manager, and sporadically appeared on television since then. She has since dedicated her focus on theatre and singing copla.

Iza (footballer)

Isaac Carcelén Valencia (born 23 April 1993), commonly known as Iza, is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for CF Rayo Majadahonda as a right back.

Javier Ruibal

Javier Ruibal (full name Francisco Javier Ruibal de Flores Calero) (born May 15, 1955) is a Spanish musician and songwriter.

Juan Antonio de Vizarrón y Eguiarreta

Juan Antonio de Vizarrón y Eguiarreta (September 2, 1682, El Puerto de Santa María, Spain – January 25, 1747, Mexico City, Spain) was archbishop of Mexico from March 21, 1731 to January 25, 1747 and Spanish viceroy of New Spain from March 17, 1734 to August 17, 1740.

Juan García Larrondo

Juan García Larrondo (born 1965) is a Spanish playwright born in El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz Province.

List of mayors of El Puerto de Santa María

This is a list of mayors (alcaldes) of El Puerto de Santa María.

Museo Arqueológico Municipal de El Puerto de Santa María

The Museo Arqueológico Municipal de El Puerto de Santa María is a museum located in El Puerto de Santa María, in the province of Cádiz, southern Spain. It was founded in 1980.

It contains paintings and sculptures of Francisco Lameyer, Eulogio Varela Sartorio, Enrique Ochoa, Fernando Jesús, Juan Lara, Manolo Prieto, and some works of Rafael Alberti.

Some pieces are exhibited in another building called Hospitalito.

Nono (Spanish footballer)

José Antonio Delgado Villar (born 30 March 1993), known as Nono, is a Spanish footballer who plays for Slovak club ŠK Slovan Bratislava as a central midfielder.

Plaza de toros de El Puerto

The Real Plaza de Toros de El Puerto de Santa María is a bullring in El Puerto de Santa María, Spain.

Dating from the 19th century, it has an eclectic architectural style and was completed in 1880. It is the work of Manuel Portillo de Avila y Herrera. The arena is 99 metres in diameter and the central ruedo measures 60 m. It is estimated to hold 12,186 spectators, making it one of the largest rings in Spain behind Madrid's Las Ventas and the ring in Valencia.

Priory Church, El Puerto de Santa María

The Priory Church (Spanish: Iglesia Mayor Prioral) is a religious building in El Puerto de Santa María, province of Cádiz, Spain. It is documented from 1486 when the building was under construction. It was damaged by an earthquake in the 17th century and was partly rebuilt in the Baroque style. As a result of being constructed in two phases, the church contains both Gothic and Baroque architecture, exemplified in its portals.

It was declared Bien de Interés Cultural (a category in the Spanish heritage register) in 1982.

Racing Club Portuense

Racing Club Portuense was a Spanish football team based in El Puerto de Santa María, Province of Cádiz, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. Founded in 1928, dissolved in 2013 and reformed in 2017, it plays in the Tercera División Andaluza, holding home games at Nuevo José del Cubillo, with a capacity of 8,600 seats.

Ricardo Ojeda Lara

Ricardo Ojeda Lara (Spanish pronunciation: [riˈkaɾðo oˈxeða ˈlaɾa]; born 26 January 1993) is a Spanish tennis player.

Ojeda Lara has a career high ATP singles ranking of 171 achieved on 9 October 2017. He also has a career high doubles ranking of 549 achieved on 10 September 2018.

Ojeda Lara has won 1 ATP Challenger singles title at the 2017 Bucher Reisen Tennis Grand Prix.

Rota, Andalusia

The town of Rota is a Spanish municipality located in the Province of Cádiz, Andalusia. Its surface area is 84 km2 and is bordered by the towns of Chipiona, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María. It is located near the city of Jerez de la Frontera and is 36 kilometers away from the provincial capital, Cadiz. In the year 2009 had 28,516 inhabitants, with a density of 339.44 inhabitants / km2. It belongs to two associations, the Association of Municipalities of Cadiz Bay along with the municipalities of Cadiz, Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María, San Fernando, Chiclana and Puerto Real; and the Association of Municipalities of the Lower Guadalquivir that comprises municipalities of Northwest Coast of Andalusia.

Located along the Bay of Cádiz in the Atlantic Ocean, it is halfway between Portugal and Gibraltar, is predominantly a tourist town, a vacation/holiday destination for travelers from all over Europe. During the low season, its main business activity is the fishing industry. In the municipality is located the Naval Station Rota, which is the largest source of employment to the municipality. It also served as a transoceanic abort landing site for the Space Shuttle program.

Valentín Galarza Morante

Colonel Valentín Galarza Morante (1882 in El Puerto de Santa María – 1951 in Madrid) was a Spanish officer and right wing politician. He was associated with the monarchist tendency within the Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista and was critical of the Falange.

Municipalities of the province of Cádiz

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