Algeciras is part of Cádiz province, in the Autonomous Region of Andalucía, to the South of Spain. It is located to 36º 8´altitude N and 5º 27´ longitude O to 120 kilometres from the capital and to 20 metres above sea level. The town of Algeciras has a total area of 86Km², and 105.000 inhabitants.
It is part of the Gibraltar Field, region that occupies the third part of the country and it is characterized by the evenness of its grounds and vegetation.
It was “Portus Albus” in the time of Rome; its kilns of ceramics in “El Rinconcillo” give evidence about its existence in the I century of our age. Then it disappeared to appear again with a Moor name, the term that it conserves: “Al-Yazirat Al-Jadra” (La Isla Verde), Algeciras, like nowadays we pronounce it. Tarik was here in the spring of 711; the count Julián, the Byzantine exarca (a dignitary in the Greek Church) of Ceuta, was its first governor. Then it came up walled in the Villa Vieja, there was erected the fortress and the beautiful mosque that built Ben Jalid.
Towers and walls well embattled defended the town, to which in the XIII century it was added “Villa Nueva” ordered by Yusuf.
Here Almanzor was born in 939, the captain of the Arab army, who translated the Muslim frontier up to the Pyrenees and defeated in fifty continuous expeditions without losing a single battle. In this town there were born writers and poets who made this place famous.
Alfonso XI besieged the fortified town in 1.342, and, after twenty months of hard siege, came in triumphal to Algeciras March, 28th 1.344, that was Palm Sunday. To remember this religious festivity, the King ordered to consecrate the mosque of Santa María de la Palma. Later the Pope Clemente VI gives a papa bull, ordering that this church was considered a cathedral and the one located in Cádiz was moved to Algeciras.
The king and queen of Spain, knowing the importance of this conquest, join their name to the crown, calling from here on, and for ever, “Reyes de Algeciras”.
Algeciras is already in the power of the Christians. This would have been the beginning of its grandeur under the flags of; but this did not happen.
After twenty five years, the Muslims again, commanded by Mohamed V de Granada, knowing that the town was unprotected, and in retaliation for the murder of Don Pedro I, his ally and friend, in 1.369 they attack and win the fortified town of Algeciras, and, few years later, thinking that they would not keep in their power, set fire to it, devastate it and then abandoned it.
The enclosure that was “the most important square in Andalucía”, according to Guichot, was turned into a load of smoking ruins in 1.379.
Its inhabitants run away towards other towns; the cathedral returned to Cádiz, and here there were only some huts, refuge of humble fishermen… We can observe some remains of large fortified towers and walls from the past.
In 1.462 Gibraltar was conquered by Alonso de Arcos, prison governor of Tarifa, Enrique IV, reigning then, gave several privileges to encourage the repopulation of that fortified town; one of the privileges was giving Gibraltar one of the municipal districts of Algeciras, for its distribution among the new inhabitants in Roca. And our town changed its ruins into many markets and country estates.
The time passes… In front of the remains of Algeciras, Gibraltar lives its placid existence… Nobody can suspect that the huge stone is going to be separated violently of our geography, leaving the Spanish full of sorrow. August 4, 1.704, like consequence of the Succession War, the anglo-dutch squad attacks Gibraltar, with such fury, that the fortified town has to surrender to the archduke Carlos, pretender of the Spanish crown; but only some hours later the archduke’s ensign is lowered, and instead of it is raised the English flag.
The Spanish go away they do not want to live under the foreign yoke and leaving properties and estate they spread in these lands….
The biggest city centre of these loyal Gibraltarians is located next to the Hermitage of San Roque, where later there was born the town with the same name. Another Group is settled in a chapel, that later it would be the town of Los Barrios, and another small group come to the piece of land of the old Algeciras, locating around a hermitage property of Gálvez family – the present chapel of Ntra. Sra. De Europa – where nowadays it is located the Plaza Alta, with the resurgence of the historic town.
From that moment, Algeciras will not break its continuity; but it will have to surmount big handicaps.
At first it depended on San Roque, and it has to fight a hard lawsuit in order to become emancipated. In 1.755 it has the first town council. In 1.723 it builds its first church dedicated to Santa María de la Palma, like Alfonso XI made when he conquered it to the Muslims; in 1.748 this town erected the Civil Hospital to help the “poor and defenceless”. And in 1.777 it builds the aqueduct of “Los Arcos”.
Algeciras has started its new life, it is a good destination.
Then it will come its famous Feria (Fair), authorized in 1.850; the Conferencia International about Marruecos that gave the town fame of hospitable and cult in 1.906. And later, the important and decisive event: the port, started in 1.913.
From this moment, Algeciras progress very quickly; its fortunate future, and beauty, confirm the nickname of “la Ciudad de la Bella Bahía”.
Nuestra Señora de Europa Chapel, from the XVII century.
Church of Nuestra Señora de la Palma from the XVIII century.
Santo Cristo de la Alameda Chapel
Mercado Ingeniero Torroja, from the 1933.
Roman Aqueduct, in the outskirts of the Town.
Murallas Merinies Archaeological Site
Cave paintings of Bacinete.
Neighbourhood San Isidro, older area of the town, with narrow and steep streets.
Infrastructures and Communications of Algeciras
Algeciras has a complete infrastructure of means of transport, with good communications by road, and railway system that is consequence of its strategic situation in the Spanish geography. The most important land means of communication are the ones that link the town with Cádiz, Jerez and Málaga. A minor road links the town with the inner villages of the Campo de Gibraltar and the mountainous region of Ronda. The railway line Bobadilla-Algeciras connects with Madrid and the French frontier.
Algeciras is part of Cádiz, in the Autonomous Region of Andalucía, to the South of Spain. It is located to 36º 8´latitude N and 5º 27´ longitude O to 120 kilometres from the capital and to 20 metres above sea level. The Town of Algeciras has an area of 86Km², and has 105.000 inhabitants.
It is part of Campo de Gibraltar, Region that occupies the third part of the country and is characterized by the uniformity of the floors and vegetation.
Minced meat soup. Garlic soups. Soup of selfish. Almonds soup. Soup of fish. Noodles with clams. Boiled fish. Grilled fish. Barbecued fish. Grilled fish. Coated in butter fish. Fried fish. Omelette of cod. Artichokes to the algecireña. Snails with pennyroyal. Pinchitos morunos (kebabs).
Sweets: Pasta real de bizcocho blando.
How to get there
You have to exit Cádiz towards San Fernando. Continue in: E-5 / A-48. Pass near Chiclana de la Frontera and Vejer de la Frontera, then continue in: E-5 / N-340, alleyway of Tahivilla and pass near Tarifa. In Los Pastores, turn right towards Puerto-Algeciras
Distances from Algeciras
Cádiz 127 km
Tarifa 22 km
Medina Sidonia 74 km
Alcalá de los Gazules 52 km
Jimena de la Frontera 42 km