Information about Spark’s Home Town
When on a school languages trip to Spark, you’ll spend most of your time in the beautiful town of El Puerto de Santa Maria , or just El Puerto for short. Its name means “The Port of Saint Mary” in Spanish, and this small city is a cosy retreat away from the tourism and bustle of larger cities. Here are a few interesting facts about El Puerto.
- El Castillo de San Marcos, shown above, was built in the 10th century and was originally a mosque in the Muslim village Al-Qanatif. Over the centuries, it has served as a castle, a church and a town hall.
- Approximately 88,000 people live in El Puerto.
- The magnificent Royal Bullring in the Plaza de Toros is over 60 metres across and can seat 12,000 people. It has a superb reputation — film star Joselito once said, “Whoever hasn’t seen a bull fight in El Puerto doesn’t know what a day at a bull fight really is.”
- It is said that famous explorer Christopher Columbus lived in El Puerto for a few years and set off for his second voyage to the Americas from the port.
- The Río Guadalete, which flows through the town into Cadiz Bay, is 157 km long and provides drinking water for a million people across Spain.
- El Puerto has five different beaches which stretch along 16 km of the coast.
- The patron saint of the town is La Virgen de los Milagros, the Virgin of Miracles. On 8 September, her holy day, there is a huge profession through the town, where bearers carry an efigy of the Virgin on a flower-decked float to the Iglesia Mayor Priorial in the Plaza España.