Ceuta Climate & Geography
The climate is typically Mediterranean, mild and humid, with east and west winds and occasionally winds from Sahara. Average temperatures in Ceuta are 13ºC (55ºF) in winter and 24ºC (75ºF) in summer. There are more than 300 sunny days per year and scarce precipitations.
The western part of the relief of Ceuta is dominated by the foothills of the Sierra Bullones mountains, with the highest points of the city: Anyera Mount (345 metres – 1134 feet) and Renegado Mount (329 metres – 1079 feet). These foothills flow toward the eastern part up to the lowest area, in the urban nucleus, that crosses through the ‘Foso Real’ towards the Peninsula of Almina. At these two mountainous areas, the flora is constituted by 500 species, typical Mediterranean: pines, cork oaks, shrubs and eucalyptus.
The fauna in Ceuta, despite of the little space, is varied and rich. North African animals are important to emphasize, as they are not present in the Iberian Peninsula: for instance the North African salamander, the blind adder of Tangiers, the Maghrebian frog and the North African ocellated Lizard, all of them constitute a genuine fauna in terms of zoology in Cueta. As regards to birds, forty species were registered, whose number is increasing with the strictly hibernating species. The spectacular migratory movement of birds, above all, white stork and birds of prey.
When and How Get There
Due to the tourism importance of Ceuta, it offers leisure activities in both its cultural and natural environments, a great number of festivities give brightness to the city. As its weather is one of the mildest in the Mediterranean, this city is a destination to enjoy throughout the year.
From the city of Algeciras (south of mainland Spain) you can take a ferry ship to Ceuta, it is possible to transport vehicles. The main ferry companies are Acciona Ferries, Nautas Ferries, Balearia or FRS Ferry Line.
The port of Ceuta has modern facilities with optimal conditions for mooring cruise ships up to 220 metres (722 feet) long, and 10 metres (33 feet) draft.
Ceuta has two Cruise Ship Terminals: the España dock (only 100 metres -328 feet- from the city centre) and the Poniente dock, where all the necessary services are available.
History of Ceuta
The city was founded by the Phoenicians and conquered by the Greeks. In the year 319 BC, Cartago recovered Ceuta, back to Punic hands. In 201, Cartago was defeated in war. In 47 BC, it was conquered by Mauritania. In the year 40 AD, Caligula annexed the territory becoming part of the Roman Empire. North Africa and Ceuta were settled by the Vandals in 429. In 534, the city was reconquered by the Byzantine General Belisarius. The domination was short, passing afterwards under Visigoth rule. In 709, the city was conquered by the Moors, due to the internal dispute of the Visigoths.
In the 14th century, being a part of the Granada Kingdom, the city was part of the Mediterranean Castile, however in the year of 1309 the city was taken by the Fes Kingdom with Aragonese support. The city was conquered the 21st of August of 1415, by Don Duarte and Don Enrique (the Seafarer) for the Kingdom of Portugal. In 1668, the Spanish sovereignty over Ceuta was recognized by a treaty with Portugal. In the 20th century the population increased and in the 1920s it became an economic, social and cultural boom. There was just something that worried the city, the war. But it finished in 1927, and afterwards nothing was an obstacle to its future.
Citizens of Ceuta are not different from the rest of Spaniards, and in 1931 the 2nd republic was welcomed with enthusiasm. But the Moroccan army uprose in 1937 and the city fell under garrison hands and it produced a civil war. In 1955 it became independent from Morocco. With a politic transition, after Franco, an autonomist movement will have important reactions during the Socialist government, with a crowded manifestation in 1986, in Madrid, and in 1994, it was declared an autonomous city.
The most important fest of the year is Carnival, with several parades and the still traditional ‘ Entierro de la Caballa’ (Mackerel’s Funeral). Costume competitions and its funny music bands that take up the streets of Ceuta and the most popular sceneries. During the Corpus Christi procession there are carpets of flowers, and all the members of the Assembly of the autonomous city are present, without distinctions of political or religious creeds, carrying the royal standard of the city.
The 2nd of September is the official day of the Ceuta autonomous city. The 1st of November is the day of All Saints, and the tradition is to stay all day in the countryside to have lunch. The bonfires of St. John are very popular during the St. John day and the beaches of ‘la Ribera’ and ‘ el Chorrillo’ are always full of people celebrating the shortest night of the year. There are concerts and the popular ‘Juanillo’ is burned, with a fireworks display. The tradition of bathing in the sea during the midnight brings luck.
Other religious festivities are: the Holly Week, St Antonio procession, Our Lady of Carmen and Saint Daniel. The 5th of August was chosen in 1575 to honor the city patron saint, Our Lady of Africa.
Very few towns can offer such a great variety of dishes like Ceuta. Different settlers have left their trace, specially in the culinary art, which has been favoured by the sea proximity, from where the best products are taken. You can taste here several kind of fishes and shellfish, approaching in this way the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Just have a look at the central market and you will realize the enormous variety of fishes available.
The typical dish in Cueta is not commercialized, but is eaten in every home: ‘Big-noodles Soup with fish’. Noodles are eaten with boneless fish, chopped, it is a sailor’s soup. It is also common with boneless sardines and anchovies. This casserole can also be tasted with shrimps and clams. It is really delicious.