Cádiz - San Juan


San Juan is a barrio in the historic centre of the city. There are administrative plans that define the exact extent of the barrio (not always the case for all the different barrios). So this one runs from C/Campo del Sur (the South wall and promenade), up along the north-west side of the Cathedral (but exclude the building), up to and west along C/Sacramento, down C/Alcalá Galiano (including the Mercado Central), along C/Rosa, and back south down C/Sagasta to the sea.   


The key attractions in this barrio include, Plaza de las Flores, the Mercado Central, and the Capilla de la Divina Pastora (and of course the walk along the south wall C/Campo del Sur). 


This barrio was once important as a landing point for ships anchored off the coast, but this activity stopped with the construction of the defensive wall in the 18th C. Here we can see the promenade along C/Campo del Sur towards the Baluarte de los Capuchinos in the barrio La Viña


Today the most important “sight” in this barrio must be the Mercado Central in Plaza de Abastos. Originally a garden of a local convent, it was sold in the 1830’s and transformed into a food market. Keeping the original Doric columns it was modernised in 1926 as part of a “great works” program (for a cost in excess of 10 million pesetas). In 2006-2009 it was again modernised, with a new central area for fresh produce and fish. Today it has 57 stalls selling fruit and vegetables, 54 selling seafood, 44 selling meat, and a few selling bits and pieces. It is a great place to snack at mid-day in the “rincón gastronómico”, where there are some tables, etc.


Being a fishing port, the price of fish was impressively low. I did not see anything over 6-7€/kg, and some fish was selling at 2-3€/kg (although fresh tuna was 18€/kg). You see a lot of fresh oysters (ostras) and sea urchins (erizo de mar) being eaten “on the fly”. And Cádiz is well known for a variety of food, including tortillitas de camarones, mojama, and chicharrones (check out this site for more information). For example a raciónes cost 5€ for Jamon y Queso, and 3€ for Chorizo


 


Plaza de las Flores, which is right next to the Mercado Central, is one of the most typical plazas in Cádiz. It is in the city centre, not far from the cathedral, next to the local market, and has some nice bars. And it is overlooked by the very elegant and highly decorative 1930‘s building of the Correos. In the center there is a small statue of a famous gaditano, Columela (4-70 AD), a writer on agriculture.  



The last monument on our list in this barrio is the Iglesia de la Pastora (sometimes also known as la capilla de la Divina Pastora). This church is well known for its cupola covered in multi-coloured ceramic tiles, and for its Baroque altar dating from 1753. 



bernard.smith@mac.com © Bernard Smith 2017