The city of Huelva, unknown for most tourists, offers visitors a rich, wide range of touristic and patrimony options. Because of this, the Tourism Councillor of the City Council of Huelva has been developing several projects for the promotion of our patrimony together with touristic activities. Throughout History, Huelva has witnessed a good number of civilizations – Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, and Muslims – which have left remarkable traces on the archaeological and industrial patrimony of the city until the arrival of the British at the end of the nineteenth century. This circumstance has made our city an open-minded, tolerant place, recently defined as ‘The Door to the Atlantic’.
One of the main treasure of the city is actually one of the most difficult ones to appreciate as it is buried under the present city. As a clear example of a superimposed city whose subsoil shows ruins from the Late Bronze Age to the Middle Ages, the rests from the mythical culture of Tartessos are precisely those which are the most attractive to the tourists who visit the Museum of Huelva. There are also Muslim rests at the Isle of Saltés at the Natural Site of the Marshes of the Odiel River, which are close to the city. These Marshes offer both nature and culture beauties to visitors – an attractive option full with all the exotic sensations provided by the marshes and the salt lakes.
Andalusia was the entrance door for numerous Mediterranean civilizations such as Greeks and Romans and later the exit door for Christopher Columbus’s ships in his Atlantic crossing, but the region has been also a small British colony since the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Around 1873, the Spanish Government allowed the sale of the millennial Mines of Riotinto and the construction of a railway line between Huelva and Seville and a loading bay. Consequently, the city became an important focal point of British presence – nevertheless, the British also settled at the towns of Riotinto, Tharsis, and Punta Umbría. The aspect of the city was changed dramatically. When the British arrived in Huelva, they found a coastal town with small, modest constructions, among which the Convent of La Merced and the Churches of San Pedro and La Concepción were the most remarkable buildings. This part of the city is worth being visited – you will discover the part of Huelva which was waking up to Industrial Revolution. Firstly, we recommend you to visit the building today known as ‘Casa Colón’, which used to be the Hotel Colón in the past. It was German businessman Wilhelm Sundheim who put architect José Pérez Santamaría in charge of the project around 1811 to build the hotel over a land plot of his. Even today it seems that one could hear the sound of music being played at its lofty halls.
And now let us discover the part of Huelva related to football. The Recreation Club – today the ‘Real Club Recreativo de Huelva’, the most ancient football team in Spain – decided to build a sports centre – known as the ‘Velódromo’ – at the Alameda Sundheim Avenue in 1892 as a part of the commemorative acts of the Fourth Centenary of the Discovery of America. Many sports – cricket, football, cycling, skating, and clay pigeon shooting – would be played at that sports centre, which imitated that sports centre built in London by the Velocipedist Society. Today that sports centre, which had a 400-metre-long flat area and tiers, is missing – nevertheless, you can see a memorial to the birth of football which evokes a past time when this mass sport took its first steps in Huelva.
We must go on to discover the constructions built by a flourishing, local bourgeoisie which made very good use of the foreign capital which was entering Huelva by that time. The new houses and buildings have many different styles – the Neo-Mudejar Estación de Sevilla, the Neo-gothic architecture of the Church of La Milagrosa, the Ancient Clinic Sanz de Frutos in Art Deco style, the neoclassical Great Theatre, the traditional features of the La Rábida Institute, and so on.
This pleasant tour along the streets of the British part of Huelva leads us to the bank of the Odiel River. The sunset which can be seen from here shows an unforgettable, wide range of mauve and orange hues – not for nothing we are at the centre of the Costa de la Luz. We must also add our well-known gastronomy of Iberian cured ham and seafood, which will make your visit a delicious experience. If are not pleased enough yet, you can also sunbathe at the Beach of El Espigón, at few minutes’ drive from the city. Do not forget to stay with us for some days – you will not regret!