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—  Municipality  —
Cadaqués is located in Catalonia
Location in Catalonia
Coordinates: 42°17′N 3°17′E / 42.283°N 3.283°E / 42.283; 3.283Coordinates: 42°17′N 3°17′E / 42.283°N 3.283°E / 42.283; 3.283
Country  Spain
Community  Catalonia
Province Girona
Comarca Alt Empordà
 - Mayor Joan Borrell i Bassols
 - Total 15.62 km2 (6 sq mi)
Elevation 23 m (75 ft)
Population (2005)
 - Total 2,640
 - Density 169/km2 (437.7/sq mi)
 - Demonym Cadaquesenc, cadaquesenca
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Cadaqués is a town in the Alt Empordà comarca, in Girona province, Catalonia, Spain. It is on a bay near the Cap de Creus peninsula, on the Costa Brava of the Mediterranean Sea. It is only a two-and-a-half hour drive from Barcelona, therefore it is very accessible and not only attracts tourists but people who want a second home for weekends and summers. In 2002, Cadaqués had an official population of 2,612, but up to ten times as many people can live in the town during the peak of the summer tourism season.

Cadaqués has a special place in art history. Commanding charcoals, by local artist Mei Fren, of the 19th century Cadaqués beleaguered by a winter tramontanain, can be seen at the Cadaqués museum. Fren was the first modern artist to live in Cadaqués and gave the town many of his works and a marble top table on which he sketched many of its turn of the century fishermen.

Salvador Dalí often visited Cadaqués in his childhood, and later kept a home in Port Lligat, a small village on a bay next to the town. A summer holiday here in 1916, spent with the family of Ramon Pichot is seen as especially important to Dalí's artistic career. Other notable artists, including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Marcel Duchamp, Antoni Pitxot, Henri-François Rey, Melina Mercouri and Maurice Boitel also spent time here. Cadaqués is mentioned in the story Tramontana by Gabriel García Márquez.

The interesting submarine life of this sleepy fishing village was studied for several years by phychologist Françoise Ardré, long before Cadaqués was discovered and transformed into a tourism destination. On Mondays there is a travelling market in Cadaqués, located near the parking lot. This market has a wide variety of products.


Relationship with Cuba

Cadaqués' Blue House (Casa Blava).
Cadaques cafe de la habana 2008 august converted YAN3.OGG
Cadaqués' Cafe de La Habana video

In the early 20th century a large number of inhabitants of Cadaqués travelled or emigrated to Cuba (the figure has been estimated as one third of a village of approximately 1200 people). Many of these immigrants were financially successful in Cuba and returned to Cadaqués where they constructed large and ornate houses. These houses can still be seen in the town (for example; the "Casa Blava", "Blue House" in English). A person returned from Cuba was referred to as an "Americano" among other names.

Notable visitors and residents

Shoreline of Cadaqués at night
  • Pablo Picasso stayed during the summer of 1910, was also a guest of the family Pitxot
  • Joan Miró
  • José Antonio Coderch (1913–1984) prominent post-war Barcelona-born architect
  • Marcel Duchamp played chess in the cafe "Meliton" with John Cage amongst others. According to Richard Hamilton, Duchamp regarded the local fishermen as strong chess players.
  • Antoni Pitxot
  • Rene Magritte
  • Walt Disney
  • Martina Hoffmann German visionary artist
  • Henri-François Rey
  • Melina Mercouri
  • Robert Venosa American visionary artist
  • Maurice Boitel
  • Eugeni d'Ors Catalan writer, wrote the "Ben Plantada" (the "Good Looking Girl")
  • Josep Pla Catalan writer, wrote a number of books set in or about Cadaqués. see below
  • Salvador Dalí built a house in Port lligat. Dalí's parents also had a house near the Platja LLane (the beach llane)
  • Genia Chef Russian artist. His Madonna de la Esparanza hangs in the town's baroque Iglesia de Santa Maria
  • Michael Lederer American poet, novelist and playwright
  • Federico Garcia Lorca Spanish poet and dramatist
  • Andre Breton French writer, poet, surrealist
  • David Marti Catalan artist and writer
  • Victor Rahola
  • Niki de Saint-Phalle French artist, was invited or came to visit Marcel Duchamp
  • Man Ray invited by Marcel Duchamp
  • Takiguchi Shuzo invited by Duchamp
  • Peter Harnden architect, worked with Bombelli
  • Lanfranco Bombelli architect, designer of many houses in Cadaqués, and founder-owner of The Cadaqués Art Gallery (1973-1997).
  • Mary Callery sculptor
  • Dieter Roth artist
  • Marcel Broodthaers
  • Joan Vehi carpenter and photographer. Joan Vehi has taken may photographs of Cadaqués over a number of years
  • Barbara Curtis ex-owner of an art gallery in Cadaqués
  • Richard Hamilton (artist) English artist, invited by Marcel Duchamp
  • John Cage composer, invited by Duchamp with whom he played chess
  • Jean Tinguely collaborator with Niki de Saint-Phalle
  • Mary Renolds visited in the 1930s
  • James Mason actor, filmed near Cadaqués
  • Pau Casals cellist, invited by the family Pitxot
  • Andre Derain painter, invited by the family Pitxot; painted the village in 1910
  • Raoul Pugno
  • Jordi Roch i Bosch founded the International Music Festival of Cadaqués
  • Jacint Morera Catalan painter
  • Maria Martins Brazilian surrealist sculptrice
  • Damien Rice
  • Jordi Pagans i Monsalvatje Catalan painter
  • Lorenzo T.Maffei Photographer
  • Antonio Muntadas Media Artist
  • Genco Gulan is working on a project called Cadaqués though he has never been to the town.


Cadaqués typical back street (rastell).

The village of Cadaqués has its own variant or dialect of the Catalan language. One of the most notable features is that the definite articles are different from standard Catalan, namely, they are "sa" (feminine) and "es" masculine instead of the normal Catalan definite articles "la" and "el". This feature is shared with the variant of Catalan spoken in the Balearic Islands. The explanation for this (see "El Vocabulari de Cadaqués", Ernesta Sala i Bruses) is that when the Catalan ruler Jaume I conquered the Balearic Islands in the Middle Ages he re-colonized the islands with people from the Empordà region of Catalonia. Because Cadaqués has remained relatively isolated from the surrounding region (owing to its geography), the mediaeval speech patterns have been preserved.

Another aspect of the speech variant of Cadaqués is the alteration of the first person singular of certain verbs: conjugations that normally end in "o" end in "i" in the Cadaqués variant. For example "a vegades agafi molt per Cala Nans" (informant was an approximately 90 year old fisherman). In standard Catalan this would be "a vegades agafo molt per Cala Nans" (meaning: sometimes I catch a lot at Cala Nans) The speech variant of Catalan has most similarities with the Catalan spoken in Ibiza (Balearic Islands)

The Catalan variant of Cadaqués is referred to as "cadaquesenc" by the local people and also has many lexical items. Examples:

  1. rastell: a street (normally with a steep slope) which is formed with pieces of slate stone placed in a vertical position. These types of streets are very characteristic of the streets of Cadaqués.
  2. grop: a black rain cloud
  3. llagut: a small boat
  4. talaia: an elevated castle or look-out which could warn the village of danger or transmit other signals (example: approaching ships) - compare with the "talaiots" of Minorca.
  5. xarxi: a (fishing) net, as opposed to "xarxa" in standard Catalan
  6. Norai: Is a stone cylindrical building with a large stone on the top that fishermans used to attach their boats.

Hermitage of Sant Sebastià

The hermitage of Sant Sebastià is a large house located high on the mountain Pení behind Cadaqués. It is a private residence not open to the public. The hermitage is surrounded by cork trees, and is built on a steep slope. There is a walking path which leads from the town of Cadaqués up to the hermitage and this path follows the old "road" (although it is not, and never was suitable for any wheeled vehicle) from the town to the hermitage. There is also a more modern road (not asphalted) which leads to the hermitage. The hermitage can also be regarded as a historical "talaia" or a look-out to warn the village of potential pirate raids.


Women of the village traditionally fetched water using a glazed earthenware jug called a "doll". The colour of the glazing was green. Similar earthenware can still be seen used as decorations. A number of photos exist showing women carrying these "dolls" on their heads (covered with a protective cloth).

Owing to Cadaqués's proximity to the French border and its isolation by land, the village had a tradition of running contraband. See the writings of Josep Pla.

Cadaqués geology

Cadaqués and the surrounding peninsula known as the Cap de Creus owes its beauty in part to its complex geology. The rocks here were mashed up when the Pyrenees (or Pirineus in Catalan) were formed, and are mostly metamorphic schists which turn a golden colour in the Mediterranean sun.

Add to that the weather: this is one of the wildest spots on the Costa Brava in the winter (Costa Brava means "wild coast"), so the migmatites and schists are battered and eroded by the Tramuntana wind which whips off the mountains and by a sea that appears as if it is boiling in the force 8 winds.

The Cadaqués migmatites formed under extreme pressure and temperatures: a partial melt. They are halfway between an igneous and metamorphic rock. The area also contains a lot of schist: a medium grade metamorphic rock that has been flattened into sheets. White blocks of pegmatite mark where molten rock was squeezed through the older metamorphics at the end of the orogeny or mountain building.

The Cap de Creus is a great place to study Structural Geology. The geological history has been exposed by erosion from wind and sea, and many geologists have mapped the area for this reason.

Books about Cadaqués

  • "Galeria Cadaqués, obres de la col·lecció Bombelli" ISBN 8489771316 (MACBA 2006) in Catalan
  • "El Cadaqués de Peter Harnden i Lanfronco Bombelli" ISBN 8488258755, Col·legi d'Arquitectes de Cataluyna
  • "El Vocabulari de Cadaqués" ISBN 848726560X, Ernesta sala, Parsifal Edicions, written in Catalan
  • "Cadaqués" Josep Pla ISBN 842610701X. This book is available in Catalan and Spanish.
  • "Contraband" Josep Pla: about experiences Pla had in running small time contraband from Cadaqués

External links

The Cadaqués shoreline
The adjacent village of Port Lligat, with Dali's home at right
Panorama of Cadaqués


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