Visit the Historic Town
of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalucia. by Ruth Polak
Jerez de la Frontera in Andalucia
has a wealth of history which along with the Bodegas, Equine School and
Museo de Relojes makes it a wonderful place to visit.
"If I had a thousand sons,
the first human principle I would teach them would be to forswear thin
potations and dedicate themselves to Sherry" Shakespeare; Henry V, part
Jerez de la Frontera (prononced
hereth,) is the Andalusian town from which the name Sherry is derived.
Along with two other nearby towns, El Puerto de Santa Maria and Sanlucar
de Barrameda, it is the only place in the world where sherry is produced.
There is not a great deal of difference between the wines of Jerez and
those of El Puerto, although the latter town does tend to be particularly
noted for its' amontillados and finos. Sanlucar on the other hand produces
an entirely different wine as all the manzanilla, with its' distinctive,
fresh flavour, is produced here.
on this bedrock of sherry and brandy production, Jerez has long been amongst
Spain's most commercially successful towns.The old Anglo-Andaluz sherry
dynasties still wield much social and economic power here. The promotional
slogan for the town is "Jerez-Pura Andalucia" which embodies the idealised
images of this region such as rich land barons, grand palaces and large
estates, finely bred horses and fighting bulls, lively and passionate flamenco,
beautiful women and handsome men and of course much flowing wine.
A visit to Jerez has much
to commend it as there is much to see and do. First on most people's agenda
of course is a tour of one, or perhaps more, of the bodegas. Here you can
see sherry in production and get to sample it too. I have put a list of
some of the most important bodegas along with their tour details at the
bottom of the page.
Another essential visit is
to the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestra, or the school of equestrian
art.On most days it is possible to see here the stables, a wonderful collection
of carriages and training sessions. On Thursdays a fascinating and perfected
performance is given of an equestrian ballet. This fabulous spectacle is
set to Spanish music and performed in 17th. Century costumes.
Also to be included in your
itinerary is a visit to the Museo de Relojes.It houses one of Europ's most
varied and interesting collection of working time pieces, a total of 300
in all, dating from the 17th. to the 19th. Centuries.
There are two events year
which make a visit to Jerez extra special, the first takes place in May
when the annual Jerez Horse Fair takes place. This marvellous spectacle
is one of Spain's oldest fairs and in the middle ages attracted traders
from all over Europe. Traditionally the sale of a horse is confirmed when
the purchaser takes hold of the reins, so be careful!!
The second event, Fiestas
de Otoño, is, along with the May Feria de caballo, the biggest celebration
of the year in Jerez. Starting at the end of September, and continuing
into October, the Fiestas include the veneration of the Patroness, the
Virgen de la Merced (24th September), and the celebrations of the grape
harvest, which includes the Treading of the Grapes and the Blessing of
the Must (the first wine of the year). The day of the Patron San Dionisio,
is celebrated on the 9th of October and coincides with the International
Horse Week and the Great Horse Parade, which sees over a thousand horses
parading the main streets of the town. Visitors can also go to watch the
exciting horse races and the Cane and Lance Games. Needless to say that
there is the singing, dancing, colour and gaiety at the festivals that
typically characterises Andalucía and its people.
So if you are holidaying
in Andalucia then a trip to Jerez will certainly add much to your
trip, particularly if you are there in May or Sept./Oct.
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