Wandering the miniature streets of Cadiz’s El Populo neighorbood, it would be easy to never realize that tucked behind the seemingly old buildings is a much, much older structure: the world’s second largest Roman theater. In fact, no one realized this until 1980, when a fire prompted the ancient theater’s discovery.
The Roman theater, which was likely built during the 1st century BC, fit some 20,000 spectators in its day. Since then, it was built over by a fortress, and later by more recent buildings, hence why it has since remained so very secret. Fortunately, part of the theater has now been excavated, with certain portions, including an interpretation center, open to the public. Though it is still being excavated, much of theater will remain unearthed given the buildings that sit atop it.
The Roman theater is located in the El Populo neighborhood, and just east of the city’s main cathedral. It is easily reachable by foot from anywhere in the historic center, or by hop-on hop-off bus tour. Entrance is free, with opening hours limited to 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (4:30 p.m. during low season) Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m on weekends.