We had not yet had the experience of visiting a Camera Obscura (also known as a Dark Chamber or Dark Camera), and so we include it in our list of places to visit in Cadiz. In fact, the Camera Obscura of Cadiz is one of nine that exist in Spain.
Cadiz is well known for its lookout towers and it is in the highest, the Tavira Tower, that we find its Camera Obscura. The Tavira Tower is located in the House-Palace of the Marquises of Recaño (now the Conservatory of Music of Cadiz), in the historic center of the city and was built in the eighteenth century in baroque style.
The structure is divided into two sections: the first with round mullioned windows separated by a marble column and the second decorated with geometric paintings in almagra (red ochre).
In 1778, the Tavira Tower was designated official watchtower of the port of Cadiz for being the tallest at 45 meters above sea level. It is known as Tavira because it was named after its first watchman, frigate lieutenant Antonio Tavira.
Currently, the Tavira Tower has one of the greatest attractions of Cadiz, the Camera Obscura, inaugurated in 1994. Here you can enjoy two exhibition halls and a viewpoint, from where you can take incredible panoramic views of the historic center of the city.
From the viewpoint you can see in the distance, the “Torre de la Bella Escondida”, a tower of the eighteenth century whose peculiarity apart from its curious history is that it is the only one with octagonal plant of all that today has Cadiz.
They say that “La Bella Escondida” (the Hidden Belle) was built by order of a sad and wealthy father, so that his young and anguished daughter, confined in a nearby convent, could contemplate it. So that every time the young girl looked at the tower she would see nothing but the love her family professed for her from the outside.
During 15-minute sessions, young and old can enjoy the great experience of observing the outside world in real time. It is through a horizontal curved white screen, like a table, located in the center of a totally darkened room, painted black, that this great experience is achieved. The projected image is in color, very bright and reflects what is happening outside the tower, through real and moving images at that precise moment.
The exhibition hall by means of information panels reveals the development of the city of Cadiz and its history in general and the Tower in particular during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The Camera Obscura of the Tavira Tower, a different and to some extent amusing way to view and appreciate the city of Cadiz.