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Our City
Santa Maria Port has a population of 90,000 inhabitants and is situated at the mouth of the Guadalete River facing Cadiz, in the heart of the Bay of Cadiz in the South of Andalusia. Nearby cities such as Puerto Real, Sanlucar de Barrameda, Rota and Jerez are all easily accessible thanks to good road connections.

With an extension of 15,900 hectares encompassing the historic city centre, the marshes area within the Bay of Cádiz Natural Park, areas to the north and south and the countryside. To the west of the city you will find most of the beaches and the Puerto Sherry Marina.
CLIMATE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
With 22 kilometres of coastline, our city offers a rich variety of fine sandy beaches with the crystalline waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The climate is characterised by the Mediterranean weather with moderately cold winters and not very warm summers and an average temperature of 25 Celsius degrees and more than 300 sunny days and a total of 3,200 hours of sunlight per year.

A large part of the town is occupied the Bay of Cádiz Natural Park. Visitors can come into direct contact with nature and gaze at the beauty of the local flora and fauna with the park's marshes, large pine forests and dunes.

HISTORY
The first traces of the earliest settlements on the beach near Puerto Sherry are from the Lower Palaeolithic, but legend says that the city was founded 3200 years ago by Menesteo, an Athenian leader of the 10th century BC, after the Trojan war and was given the name Puerto de Menesteo.



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MONUMENTS - SAN MARCO´S CASTLE
Originally an old mosque that was erected with materials, probably coming from another older Roman building. The most important parts of the Arabian temple - both the wall of the "quibla" and "the mihrab" - are still conserved in the modern construction. In the middle of the 13th century the building was transformed into a Christian sanctuary and was bound by the erection of the castle as the defensive point of the whole district.

In the 20th century the Caballero family acquired ownership of the building and began work to recover the most important areas including the wine cellar of the castle. The cellar holds products Luis Caballero bodegas and the castle now hosts numerous important events and cultural activities.

MONUMENTS - THE ROYAL BULLRING
The bullfighting tradition of El Puerto de Santa María is one of the strongest and most deeply rooted in Spain stretching back as far as the 18th century. The city held different wooden bullrings before the royal bullring was built in stone in 1880 with a shape of regular polygon of sixty sides and a diameter of ninety nine meters with room for twelve thousand spectators - one of the biggest in Spain.

Every period in the history of bullfighting, all the passionate rivalry that has established the classic Spanish dualism, has been celebrated in the bullring of El Puerto. The bullring also has a museum and is open for visits everyday.

VICTORIA MONASTERY
Erected through a donation from the the Dukes of Medinaceli in the early 16th century to the Minim Friars of San Francisco, this building is noted for its church, the cloister and the chapter rooms that show Gothic and Renaissance elements.

Later on it was used as hospice, refuge and hospital for war wounded, and in the early years of the 20th century as a penitentiary. The Monastery has been declared a building of Cultural Interest and at present it is being restored and forms an unique element of the local urban landscape.

MONUMENTS - MAIN PRIORY CHURCH
The biggest religious building of the city was built on high grounds around 1486 by the Dukes of Medinaceli, jurisdictional lords of the city and promoters of this work. The original design was in Gothic style as seen in the spectacular main façade named the Puerta del Perdón (Door of Forgiveness).

Beside the beauty and height of the three naves, the chapels and the high altar, the inside of the church is well known for several items including the choir stalls, the organs from the 17th century and an important number of paintings, sculptures and precious metal works. The church has recently received the category of Basilica from Pope Francisco.

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