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City of Indies merchants

The port of Saint Mary is a city of about 90.000 inhabitants. It is located in the south-east coast of the province of Cadiz. This city was a very important point in the discovery of America and the Indies route. The whole city centre was full with typical small palaces with big doors made of stone and the family's coat of arms on the top of the large doors, always engraved in big stones and marble columns or “ostionera” stone, very typical in the city. The palaces were big merchants' houses, that were settled in the city after the discovery of America. At that time, the port was a commercial/naval city at its maximum splendour, very important. Here was where “Juan de la Cosa” drawed the first map of the American continent.There is a castle in the city centre, until where long ago the sea reached. For the students, the universities are in the province of Cádiz, 20m. by car. The city is really good communicated with buses for the big number of university students that reside here and study in the capital of Cádiz. In the city, you can breathe the gypsy culture everywhere. There are old country-style bars, where people used to sing “a golpe de mesa” 50 years ago, and there are also fishermans, that mend nets in the other side of the river Guadalete. Jerez de la frontera is only 15 minutes away by car, and it's there where the flamenco adquires its maximum splendour in neighborhoods like Santiago and La Plazuela, the flamenco cradle, where big families of both gypsy and non-gypsy singers live together.

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