| Province & Villages - Cadiz - Jerez
For centuries Jerez de la Frontera has been the finest example of the great town of agricultural economy and bearing. Its popularity arose from the most famous wine in the world, sherry, and the fertility of its lands.
Today, Jerez is much more and although the wines, the Cartujano Horse, a breed peculiar to Jerez, and the fighting bulls still contribute much to its economy, as well as Jerez airport (used by more than 1 million passangers every year), the motor-racing circuit and the numerous conferences which take place here every year combine to offer us a modern town which has successfully preserved its age-old charms.
Its artistic charms, for example, have been well preserved and the town's wide, well-kept streets are full of monuments. The most notable feature of the town centre is the well-proportioned Baroque Cathedral, with a beautiful tower, five naves and fine pictorial illustrations. Nearby is the Alcazaba Fortress, the object of a long restoration process which has concentrated on the valuable Muslim remains, including those of the mosque churches - Santigo, San Dionisio, San Juan de los Caballeros, San Marcos, San Mateo, Santo Domingo, San Miguel - are a part of Jerez's charm. San Dionisio, for example is Mudéjar with a harmonious and elegant interior; Santiago and San Miguel are large Gothic parish churches with beautiful facades and Santo Domingo with its Gothic cloisters.
The palaces are another great attraction: the Cabildo, houses the Archaeological Museum which stands witness to the history of the district. Almost all the palaces such as the Domeq, Ponce de León, Dávila or Riquelme almost all have exquisite patios and Baroque facades.
Maybe the most attractive monument of Jerez is La Cartuja, situated on the outskirts of the town. It was abandoned in the 19th century, and has undergone a restoration process in recent times. The Renaissance styles are predominant in its two beautiful facades, the main facade and the one affording access to the Monastery, but the church is Baroque, with a Gothic design and cloisters.
The town invites the visitor to stroll through its streets and squares with tall palm trees alternating with flat, winding streets overlooked by towers or bell gables and the palaces. A visit to the wine cellars is a must, giving the visitor an insight into what wine has meant and means in this town of almost 200,000 inhabitants.
A horse show at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art should not be missed and the ideal time to visit the School is in spring when first the Easter celebrations and then the Horse Fair, enhance its attractions.
The town also possesses a good Zoo and original museums, such as the Clock Museum and the Harnissing Museum. The spectrum of hotels and restaurants has been improved in this town which has its own very particular gastronomy from "kidneys in sherry sauce" to "oxtail stew". As you can see, there are many places to visit in Jerez.
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