The decision to join a free walking tour of Jeres Old Town provided by the city’s Tourist Information Center, before picking up the kids from the airport, turned out to be a very bad one.
Though informing us that the tour departing at 11:30am
from the Arenal main city Square was supposed to be conducted, both in Spanish and English, the guide leading the group couldn’t conversed in English, and told us he summoned another guide an English speaking one, who would come to meet us in half an hour. At noon, another only Spanish speaking guide showed up, tagging along a young trainee, originally from Italy, who came to practice his meager English skills in Spain, and who just started guiding tours, “allegedly in English”, at the previous week.
Realizing, in no time, that this “free” guidance by this clueless, English-less trainee, actually would “cost” us in precious time, we drifted away, left the group and self-google guided ourselves…
One can not visit Jeres without touring the:
It is one of Andalucía's best-preserved relics from the Almohad Muslim rule-era , which is notable for its octagonal towers. The Alcazar, a former defensive fortified Moorish castle or palace, is now housing a park. It was declared Bien de In terés Cultural in 1931.
A first fortress was probably built in the 11th century, when Jerez was part of the petty kingdom of the taifa of Arcos de la Frontera, on a site settled since prehistoric times, at the south-eastern corner of the city.
Later, it turned into a chapel and after the Reconquista of Andalusia, it was the seat of the first Christian mayors. A 17th- and18th-century baroque structure attached to it is the Palacio Villavicencio.
There were few magnificent structures and squares we enjoyed encountering while walking the Old Town:
The main city square, a meeting place since the days of the Moors, surrounded by trees and monuments. In it is the monument to horse of native Jeres Miguel Primo de Rivera , work of Mariano Benlliure .
This plot of land outside the walled city, close to the Alcázar de Jerez was where kings and other illustrious visitors would stay. Centuries ago it was a musara andalusí to become, after the Reconquista , a scenario of equestrian, bullfighting shows as well as duels and battles place, taking its name from there (arenarium, "place of battles").
We spectated only the exterior as it is open only for pre planned group visits. This stunning Baroque manor house is an 18c architecture. It is a prototype of the great mansions built by the agricultural aristocracy and the bourgeoisie established in the city, at the time.
Its façade has three floors and two bodies separated by a large central balcony with rich Baroque decoration.
It was built in 1778. After the death of the Marquis of Montana (1785), the first owner, his wife gave him ownership, like the rest of their property, the Cabildo Colegial. In 1855 it was compiled by Don Juan Pedro Domecq Lembeye thus leaving the palace incorporated to this well-known Domecq family whose winemaking tradition is one of the finest and most extensive in Spain.
The interior which we missed, is an elegant central patio with columns, which is accessed through a large "casapuerta"or hallway- a fundamental element of reception and distribution of housing. Carved in Italian red marble, its semicircular arches stand out, with its rich decoration.
Address: Alameda Marqués de Casa Domecq 8 · 11403 · Jerez de la Frontera · Cádiz · Spain
The Old City Hall of Jerez - Ayuntamiento de Jerez
This building is the headquarters of the city of Jerez. where the Office of the Mayor, along with the main administration agencies and the Hall where council meetings are held are to be found.
Originally it was an old hospital founded in the 17 Century. In 1840 the Town Hall was transferred here and the building was later reformed and adapted to meet current needs, both regarding its own functioning and the level of service offered to the citizens
It has a square patio surrounded by semicircular arches and large framed windows surround the upper floor.
This private neoclassical palace of the noble Count of the Andes has been handed down since the distribution of Alfonso X the Wise. The Palace has been in the same family since the Reconquista de Jerez in the 13th century. General José de Laserna y It was the estate of Martínez de Hinojosa I, Count of the Andes, hero of the War of Independence, last Viceroy of Peru and Spain in America, that resided in the palace during the late 18th century and early 19th. It is in homage to his person that the palace is called Palace of the Viceroy Laserna.
The palace is built on foundations of Arab buildings. After work was done in the building, a Nazari tiling of the thirteenth century and other elements were found. In the eighteenth century a great reform was made that gives it the neoclassical aspect of the Palace today. Since then it has been the usual residence of the Counts of the Andes.
since April 2015 the family has opened for visitors
When driving around town these are the 3 main well known visible Bodegas recommended for a visit :
Wine repository - Bodegas
BODEGAS FUNDADOR since 1730, the oldest in Jerez ..
Calle Puerta de Rota, S/N, 11408 Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz
BODEGAS SANDEMAN -since 1790.
"The" Worldwide Porto Wine and Sherry brand Sandeman,
BODEGAS TIO PEPE -Since 1835
Calle Manuel María González, 12, 11403 Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz 956 35 70 16
Equestrian performance- Dancing Horses
Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art Foundation
Fundacion Real Escuela Del Arte Ecuestre -
Attending this Dancing Horses show with our 3 years old grandson was so special as his responses were more intriguing then the horses themselves.
The Royal Andalusian School is well known for its "dancing stallions" shows for the tourists.
The School is a riding school comparable to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria. It is famous all over the world for its show called "Cómo bailan los caballos andaluces", a unique exhibition of horsemanship.
This institution is devoted to conserving the ancestral abilities of the Andalusian horse, maintaining the classical traditions of Spanish baroque horsemanship, preparing horses and riders for international dressage competitions, and providing education in all aspects of horsemanship, coach driving, blacksmithing, the care and breeding of horses, saddlery, and the manufacture and care of horse harness.
The school is adjacent to the historic beautiful nineteenth-century Palacio Duque de Abrantes (or Palacio de las Cadenas) An eclectic style, by the French architect Garnier, also known for the Paris Opera and the Monte Carlo Casino.
Jews of Jeres
It had an important Jewish community with a separate Juderia as early as the time of the Moors. When Alfonso X., the Wise, conquered the city in Oct., 1264, he assigned houses and lands to the Jews. The Juderia, which was located near S. Cristobal street and extended along the city wall, included ninety-six houses, large and small, and had two synagogues and two "casas de la merced," institutions for aiding and housing the poor. Near one synagogue were the "casas del reab" (houses of the rabbi). and more in this link
More on the History of Jerez
To be Continued...