The town of Tarifa is located in the most southerly region of the iberian Peninsula and the European continent. Only 16.3 km from the African coast and at the meeting point of the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic ocean. This is a fascinating place, filled with fantasy and fables, about wich people of the old world created myths and legends, where Titans, nymphs and gods dwelled. Here it is believed that Hercules erected two great columns that held up a celestial dome shortly after the disappearance of Atlantis under the waves.This region was home to a wide variety of communities and cultures all leaving their mark by way of a significantly diverse historical heritage that can be described as one of Spain´s most interesting.
The history of Tarifa runs parallel to that of Spain itself. No culture or community has existed in our country without having left its mark in some way on Tarifa. Evidence of this can be seen by viewing the significant archaeological remains dating from the Palaeolithic and Bronze ages, follow in other times by such communities as the greeks and Phoenicians.
The establishment of Tarifa is ascribed to Augustus at about the 1st century B.C. and at that time was denominated Julia Traducta. Two other local towns were noteworthy at the time, Mellaría ( now Casas de Porros) and Baelo Claudia (now Bolonia). The berber leader Tarik Ben Malek renamed the city Tarifa after disembarking in lower Andalusia in 710 and taking over its territory. It remained under Arab rule until the 13th of October 1292 when Sancho IV el Bravo recovered the region for Christian arms following a prolonged and costly siege.
Tarifa is historically well-known mainly due to the exploits of Alonso Pérez de Guzmán ( better known as Guzman el Bueno. As governor of the town during yet another Muslim siege in 1293 when his son was taken prisoner and he refused to give over the city, watching with his own eyes as he was killed by the attacking forces. This event earned him the title of Duque of Medina Sidonia and the right to exploit the funny fishing in the Strait of Gibraltar.
King Alonso the 11th´s defeat of the Muslims was a significant factor in Tarifa´s history. This took place at the famous Batalla del Salado (año 1340) and put an end to North African invasions of the Iberian Peninsula.
By the 19th Century Tarifa had become an important part of Spain´s history including the War of independence. In the year 1811 Spanish and Britisch troops, sent by General Copons and Skerret respectively, defended this strategic place from French troops led by General Leval.
Since the year 1980 a very different kind of community has emerged, the windsurfers discovered Tarifa. They turned wind into business and introduced tourism, which is today`s Tarifa´s main source of income. Tarifa is worldwide recognized as the wind and kite surf capital of Europe and as a fantastic outdoor sports paradise.
Tarifa Bike Race is a great opportunity to get to know this part of the world better.