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Tavira Tower

Cádiz

There are still traces in Cádiz of what the city once was, and that is, a city overflown with money and to where ships full of gold arrived every quarter of an hour.

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There are still traces in Cádiz of what the city once was, and that is, a city overflown with money and to where ships full of gold arrived every quarter of an hour.

You can understand that such a treat for pirates, corsairs and other dangerous people of the sea, needed protection and vigilance. And that's what they ended up using the Tavira Tower for, which although, while it resembles that of an Arabian mosque, it was built when the Baroque style was in vogue, back in the first half of the eighteenth century.

Before, they had tried other points of the city to scan the horizon, but at forty-five meters high, this was the best one of them all. So in here, the First Lieutenant Antonio Tavira took his post in the year 1778, armed with patience, a spyglass and the sight of an eagle which as a Navy official he was supposed to have. They had to be able to distinguish whether a small dot in the fog was a Christian or a Berber ship, if their sails were English or Turkish and if the crew had rather light or rather dark eyes. That would decide whether they would return home at the end of the day or if they would be feed to the sharks, or even worse if they would be handed as slaves in Portsmouth or Algiers.

So, both Antonio Tavira and his son, also a First Lieutenant and also a watchman in the tower that would end up bearing their last name, observed and observed the sea every day, to make sure that Cádiz would not be surprised by another Francis Drake.

And something must have improved in the defences of the city since Rodney, an English Admiral who strutted off Cádiz coasts in 1780, decided not to attack in what seemed to be his lucky year. He had sunk everything that had been put in front of him with either a Spanish or a French flag, but the idea of launching for Cádiz, for some reason, it did not convince him.

If you go up to the Tavira Tower, you will see everything that Rodney left without conquering. And you won’t even need the sight of a watchman, because thanks to the camera obscure, one of the most exciting attractions of Cádiz, you can see everything that happens outside reflected on a circular screen.


Tavira Tower

Calle Marqués del Real Tesoro, 10
11001 Cádiz
(+34) 956 21 29 10

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Tags: Baroque art

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