The first to inhabit Chiclana chose the little island Sancti Petri. It was not the first colonization of Chiclana as the islet had always had a mythical component with reference to the origin of the colonization of the Bay of Cádiz. The islet of Sancti Petri seems to be related to the personality of Hercules. In the santuary Melkart he was worshipped but also two of his ten labours took place here. After the slay of the Nemean Lion and the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra, the capture the Erymanthian Boar and the slay of the Stymphalian Birds, clean the Augean stables in a single day, the capture of the Cretan Bull and steal of the Mares of Diomedes, obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, queen of the Amazonas and capture and bring back of Cerberus, Hercules obtained the cattle of the monster Geryon and stole the apples of the Hesperides.
The topography of the area was reconstructed by antic descriptions of different authors and archeological evidences. The antic city was divided on two islands and in the southeast of the main island the temple of Melkart was founded, one of the most famous during the antiquity. Different authors mentionned the existence of two columns in the interior with inscriptions in an unknown language. In the temple two collector´s items were kept, the belt of Teucro and a golden olive tree with emeralds and most important the ashes from Hercules.
The deity melkart was known as a god of the fisherman, trade and related to the foundation of cities. Its temple was used also as an oracle which famous generals as Hannibal and Julius Caesar consulted. Roman generals attended the temple to pay hommage to the god. Another famous visitor in our time was the composer Manuel de Falla who visited the island regularly searching inspiration with regard to “La Atlántida, his unfinished work.
The island was also known by the already christianzed arabs and dedicated to San Beter (how they called San Pedro), and later the Habsburg changed its use now a fortress against the Berber and later against the English. The well equipped fortress formed part of various fortress protecting the entry to the channel Sancti Petri along with other defences at the Punta del Boquerón.
Since the antiquitiy the surroundings of the islet have been a place of many archeological discoveries. During the 18. Century a little statue representing “The envy” was found. After the earthquake in Lisbon on 1 st of November 1755 various statues of bronce were discovered with unknown whereabouts. A marble statue and a smaller bronce statue representing Attis can be seen in the Museum in Cádiz and the national archeological museum. In 1925 a statue in bronce representing an emperor appeared which is kept at the museum in Cádiz. Three more small statues in bronce representing egyptian godesses were found. In 1973 underwater prospections revealed: construction remnants, roman ceramics and a 45 m long wall of 2,5 height. But taking in consideration the history of the region it can be suspected that still much is to discover.
Nowadays our seashore is constantly protected by the mythical island of Sancti Petri with its fortress of which only some remnants of the 16 th and 18 th century remain. The medieval tower serves as a lighthouse and guides those who live by the sea and with the sea. From the island the ruins of the former village Sancti Petri, known for its famous almadraba (tuna fishing) until 1972, can be seen.
****ISLAND OF SANCTI PETRI
The excursions to the island of Sancti Petri will start at the Port of Sancti Petri. You can reach it by boat but also with a hired Kayak.The posibility to reach the island by our own means also excists.
On Monday the entry at the fortress is free
**** VISITS OF THE FORTRESS SANCTI PETRI (Guided Tour)
Restored between 2009 and 2011 its history ,location and scenic beauty are well worth a visit. The Loggia company, a licened operator of the castle and specialised in heritage management,organises guided tours to the castle and a wide offer of cultural and leisure time activities such as : Sunsets serenaded by music, historic reenactments,astronomie workshops, photographie workshops, concerts, exhibitions ect.
Valid from Tuesday to Sunday, except special events. . The schedule depends on the climate and tides.
July & August : 12:00 pm / 6:00 pm (de martes a domingo)
Trip by boat or kayak from the harbour Sancti Petri and guided tour of the Fortress Sancti Petri.
Duration of the visit: approx. 1 h
**** PUESTAS DE SOL: Incluye visita libre, música ambiente durante la puesta de sol y cocktail de bienvenida.