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El Puerto de Santa Maria

(4.1/5 based on 1,400+ reviews for top 20 attractions)
Things to do: beaches, historic sites, theme parks
El Puerto de Santa María is a municipality located on the banks of the Guadalete River in the province of Cádiz, Andalusia. As of 2009, the city has a population of c. 88,000, of which some 50,000 live in the urban center, and the remainder in the surrounding areas.The town of El Puerto de Santa María is 10km north east of Cádiz across the bay of Cádiz and is best known for having been the port from which Columbus sailed on his second voyage to the Americas.HistoryAccording to the legend told in the Odyssey of Homer, after the Trojan War a Greek official named Menestheus escaped with his troops through the Straits of Gibraltar and reached the Guadalete River. They established themselves here and called that port Menestheus's port.In 711, Arab (Moors) from the North of Africa invaded southern Spain. They renamed the place Alcante or Alcanatif which means Port of Salt, due to the old salt industry of Phoenicians and Romans.In 1260, Alfonso X of Castile conquered the city from the Moors and renamed it Santa María del Puerto. He organized the land distribution and conceded a charter under the Crown of Castile. Having received a royal charter the city was then allowed to use the title "El" prior to the name of the city itself. This is a distinguishing property and even though Madrid is the capital of Spain it has not earned this distinction. In his Cantigas de Santa Maria CSM 367, Alfonso sings that he was miraculously healed of swollen legs after visiting his church of Santa Maríado Porto.
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