Despite potentially being one of the longest continually populated cities in all of Europe, Cadiz within the last decade has faced a steady decline in population with some neighborhoods seeing decreases of almost ten percent. Ironically the same peculiar geography that made it such an important hub to sea commerce over the centuries, is now playing a role in this loss thanks to the pronounced shortage of land required to develop housing for a larger population. All of which is compounded by the fact that the sandspit the city is built upon is incapable of supporting the foundations required for high-rises to be built, and that many of the existing buildings in the older quarters of Cadiz are ineligible for urban renewal due to their age and historical significance. The height of the city’s skyline as a result has not changed all that much since medieval times. The seventeenth century Tavira Tower for example still commands a panoramic view of Cadiz with only a height of not quite hundred and fifty feet.

Towns and cities surrounding the Bay of Cadiz on the other hand seem to be growing, likely absorbing some of the departing population as improvements to railways and major roads have made commuting to the city a lot easier, such that it’s increasingly becoming a place where people go to work or study rather than live in. However best known around the world for its Carnival, preparations for which occur year round across the city as near constant rehearsals, public demonstrations, and contests are held in the lead up to the festivities, tourists and locals alike still flock to the city. Cadiz is probably most famously known for the satirical groups called chirigotas that perform comical musical pieces across the city, but are not the only performers to be found as quartets take to the streets with songs, and storytellers recite tales in verse upon street corners. During the first two weekends of February when Carnival is held the entire city ends up being turned into an open-air theatre.

Carnival might be just the thing to keep Cadiz from entering a true decline.