History of Caños de Meca, Barbate, Cádiz, Costa de la Luz, Andalusia, South of Spain

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History of Caños de Meca

Speaking of Caños de Meca is speaking of the Straights of Gibraltar, is speaking of the traces of numerous civilisations left throughout the centuries, they left an important heritage in this region. Caños de Meca is a pendant to barbate, which for the last couple of decades continued to develope and which is now one of the best tourist destinations in the Costa de la Luz, of the Costa de Cadiz region.

The first settlements in this region date back to the Palaeolithic period, after which the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians and the Romans came to fish tuna in these quiet waters.

At the beginning of civilisation, the marine transport was fundamental for the development of the big towns, which for their great part, were build near the seaside where all the infrastructure to move commercial goods was given. However, here, as well as in Barbate, Bolonia or Tarifa, the archeological remains are telling a story of passing civilisations, up front the Phoenicians and the Romans.

The cape of Trafalgar, then the witness of one of the most important marine battles of all times (1805), was once an important location on the maritime routes to Gades, Hispalis and Onuba amongst others or further to Cádiz, Sevilla and Huelva.
As in Bolonia, the salazones (fish dried and salted) factories were very important for the economy of the Phoenicians and the Romans, as in Los Caños the tuna was prepared, mainly to extract the Garum, one of the most important food in the Roman Empire.

Continuing in history we encounter the hermitage San Ambrosio, of the Visigoth period. Preserved perfectly up to our times and it can be visited. Also Moslem traces are found in Caños de Meca, for next to the lighthouse of Trafalgar, is the same named tower, which dates back to the 9th Century AD. Another Arab legacy is the name Caños de Meca, the then arriving Moslems saw in the place the image of their own holy town. Caños de Maca was ruled by the Arabs for five Centuries, until it was recaptured during the Reconquista by Alfonso 10th El Sabio in the 13th Century.

The Moslems had their home in that region for various centuries, until in the 15th Century the region passed to be part of the dukedom of Medina-Sidonia. This was also the time when the watchtowers were constructed. They were to warn from the arrival of pirates. These were also the times, when the region became a nucleus for the population, even though, not in the coastal area, but in the proximity of Barbate, Conil or Vejer de la Frontera.

In the year 1805 Cap Trafalgar was witnessing making history with the battle of Trafalgar between the British and the French-Spanish allied fleet, causing the death of one of the greatest military strategists Admiral Nelson. At the end of the 19th Century, the lighthouse of Trafalgar was build. This lighthouse was testimony to many boot accidents, for the strong currents there as well as the shallow water in some areas. Nowadays, this is one of the preferred areas of lovers of skin diving, however, it is rather advised for the advanced of this sport.

Caños de Meca became interesting to tourism back in the 60’s, first people of nearby villages came to pass their holidays, then people from further away and in the 70’s the opening towards Europe assured a stream of foreigners who were nature- and nudist lovers.

Here and now, with continued urbanisation and a constant flow of tourist to the region, this became an important tourist destination, what once was one of the most important salazón factories throughout the Roman Empire.

The cliffs of Caños de Meca, its savage surroundings, is low key development are the ingredients of this idyllic place called Caños de Meca. . The beach of Castillejos or Playa del Pirata, la Playa de Marisucia, the cliffs, the Playa del Faro are all fine golden sand beaches with little services to keep its natural looks.

Las calas son un lugar recóndito de difícil acceso donde abunda el nudismo, si bien es una playa totalmente libre, donde éste no es obligado.

The cliffs are places where the access may be difficult, but for this, where nudism is being practiced a lot, however, the individual is free to choose its way of enjoying the surroundings. For the nature there is very beautiful. Being surrounded by the National park of La Breña with its forests, flora and fauna. Also there, the name already tells the story, - caños - these are sweet water waterfalls originating from the National park and falling down the cliffs. Also to be visited is the Tombolo of Trafalgar, island on which the lighthouse is located.

Other interesting beaches to discover in the region is Zahora beach or Hierbabuena beach, Zahara de los Atunes beach on the far end border to Tarifa.

Also to be pointed out, Caños de Meca is situated in the heart of Costa de la Luz, Barbate borough, which borders to Conil, Tarifa and Vejer de la Frontera.


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