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Jerez, located 15 km inland from the beaches of the Costa de la Luz, is internationally known for its wine production, horses, flamenco, fiestas and its important historical and artistic heritage. For motorcycle fans it is well known too due to the annual "Grand Prix".

In fact Jerez is the birthplace of the famous wines DO "Xérès-Jerez-Sherry" and has an ancient wine tradition. For over 3,000 years wine has been produced here, 2000 years ago it began to be exported to Rome. In the twelfth century, these southern Spanish wines were particularly popular in England, and the present name "Sherry" arose from the original Moorish name of the city, "Sherish". The bodegas (wine cellars) of Jerez therefore have a great tradition and are true attractions. Some of them offer guided tours, where you can learn the history and the manufacturing process. At the end there is a tasting of fine wines.

Jerez is also the home of famous horses that have been bred here for the first time by the Carthusian monks. Later, this task was taken over by the military. Today we can see this rare and noble breed of horses both at the Horse Fair in May, one of the largest fairs in Andalusia, as well as at a visit to the Palacio Duque de Abrantes, home of the "Royal Andalusian Riding School", where dressage demonstrations are presented.

The Best of Andalusia

Furthermore Jerez is one of the "cradles of flamenco" and therefore, both in the tablaos (flamenco clubs) of the city as during the renowned Festival Flamenco Jerez, outstanding performances can be watched.

Naturally, there are also numerous monuments in Jerez, we shall now focus on the most important:

The town-walls Foto, a work of the Almohads during 12th Century, have a circumference of 4,000 meters and enclose an area of 46 hectares. Especially remarkable are the towers Torre Octogonal and Torre de Ponce de León, both of which belong to the Alcazar.

The Alcazar Foto was originally the residence of the Muslim rulers before the land was reconquered by the Christians. Of particular note are the mosque (the only leftover of 18 which existed in the city), the Arab baths, the Pabellón Real, and the Patio de Armas, with its beautiful gardens.

Inside the Alcazar is also the Palacio de Villavicencio, a baroque building from 17th century, which was built on the remains of earlier Moorish buildings and was the residence of the Christian rulers of Jerez. In its main tower, the tallest tower of Jerez, there is the "Cámara oscura", from where you can enjoy a bird's view over Jerez de la Frontera and the surrounding lands thanks to an ingenious combination of lenses and mirrors.

The monastery of Cartuja de Santa Maria de la Defensión, Foto in late Gothic style, is perhaps the most emblematic building of the city. Here, the famous Carthusian horses were bred for the first time.

Some other churches in Jerez: the Cathedral Foto (gothic, baroque and classicistic), the Church of San Mateo, (the oldest in the city), the Iglesia de San Miguel Foto, and the Church of Santiago Foto, (gothic with elements of Renaissance and Baroque).

Among the many palaces, we want to mention these following: Palacio Pemartín Foto, seat of the "Centro Andaluz de Flamenco", the Palace of the Dukes of Abrantes Foto, the former Palacio de Montana Foto, built in the typical style of the Jerez of the 18th century, and the Palacio de Riquelme (Renaissance Plateresque). The latter is located at the Plaza del Mercado (Market Square), next to another palace which houses the Archeological Museum and is the final point of our visit with an interesting exposition about the ancient history of the city.

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