Jerez de la Frontera

Jerez de la Frontera or simply Jerez is a Spanish city and municipality in the province of Cádiz in the autonomous community of Andalusia, in southwestern Spain, located midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cádiz Mountains. As of 2015, the city, the largest in the province, had a population of 212,876. It is the fifth largest in Andalusia, and has become the transportation and communications hub of the province, surpassing even Cádiz, the provincial capital, in economic activity. Jerez de la Frontera is also, in terms of land area, the largest municipality in the province, and its sprawling outlying areas are a fertile zone for agriculture. There are also many cattle ranches and horse-breeding operations, as well as a world-renowned wine industry (Xerez).

Currently, Jerez, with 212,876 inhabitants, is the 25th largest city in Spain, the 5th in Andalusia and 1st in the Province of Cádiz. It belongs to the Municipal Association of the Bay of Cádiz (Mancomunidad de Municipios Bahía de Cádiz), the 3rd largest Andalusian metropolitan area and the 12th in Spain, with over 650,000 inhabitants.

Its municipality covers an area of 1,188.14 km2 (458.74 sq mi) and includes the Los Alcornocales Natural Park and the Sierra de Gibalbín, also known as Montes de Propio de Jerez.

The city is located 12 km (7.46 mi) from the Atlantic Ocean, in the Campiña de Jerez, region appropriate to cultivate the vineyards that produce the famous sherry. Some famous places in to the city are Alcazar of Jerez, Church of San Miguel, Charterhouse of Jerez, the Cathedral of San Salvador.

Since 1987 the Grand Prix motorcycle racing has been held at the Circuito de Jerez in early May. On this weekend, the city welcomes tens of thousands of bikers from around the world. The same circuit has hosted several Formula 1 Grands Prix, including the 1997 final race of the season, which was marred with controversy for a notable high-profile championship-deciding incident. Other popular festivals in the city are Feria de Jerez or the Holy Week in Jerez.

Jerez is known as the city of flamenco, sherry, horses and motorcycles. In 2013, Jerez was the European Capital of Wine and 2014, it was the world’s first Motorbike Capital.

Etymology

The name Jerez goes back to the Phoenician Xera, Sèrès, later Romanized under the name of Ceret; the location of this settlement, however, remains unknown.

The classical Latin name of Asta Regia, unrelated to the present name, referred to an ancient city now found within Mesas de Asta, a rural district approximately 11 km (6.84 mi) from the center of Jerez.

The current Castilian name came by way of the Arabic name شريش Sherish. In former times, during the Muslim occupation of Iberia, it was called Xerez or Xerés (pronounced /ʃeˈɾes̪/ in Old Spanish). The name of the famous fortified wine, sherry, which originated here (although some argue that it originated in Shiraz, Persia), represents an adaptation of the city’s Arabic name, Sherish. Frontera refers to a Spanish frontier, located on the border between the Moorish and Christian regions of Spain during the 13th century, a regular host to skirmishes and clashes between the two regions. Over two centuries later, after the Castilian conquest of Granada in 1492, Xerez definitively lost its status as a frontier city, but did not lose that designation.

After the Kingdom of Castile took Jerez on October 9, 1264, following the name given by the Muslims to the city in the period known as the Reconquista, the city was then called Xerez in medieval Castilian, transcribing the consonant /ʃ/ (like the English sh) with the letter ⟨x⟩, as was the rule at the time. In the 16th century, the consonant /ʃ/ changed into the consonant /x/, with the corresponding spelling of Jerez.

The old spelling “Xerez” as the name given to the city survived in several foreign languages until very recently, and today continues to influence the name given to sherry: Portuguese Xerez, Catalan Xerès, English sherry, French Xérès. The city’s main football team continues to use the old spelling, Xerez.

History

Prehistory and Ancient history

Traces of human presence in the area date from the upper Neolithic, and humans have inhabited Jerez de la Frontera since at least the Copper or Neolithic Age, but the identity of the first natives remains unclear. The first major protohistoric settlement in the area (around the third millennium BC) is attributed to the Tartessians. Jerez later became a Roman city under the name of Asta Regia.

Middle Ages

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Vandals and the Visigoths ruled it until the Arabs conquered the area in 711. In the 11th century it briefly became the seat of an independent taifa. Some years later ‘Abdun ibn Muhammad united it with Arcos and ruled both (ca. 1040-1053). In 1053 it was annexed to Seville. From 1145 to 1147 the region of Arcos and Jerez briefly operated as an emirate under dependency of Granada, led by Abu’l-Qasim Ahyal. Later the Almohads conquered the city. In the 12th and 13th centuries Jerez underwent a period of great development, building its defense system and setting the current street layout of the old town.

In 1231 the Battle of Jerez took place within the town’s vicinity: Christian troops under the command of Álvaro Pérez de Castro, lord of the House of Castro and grandson of Alfonso VII, king of Castile and León, defeated the troops of the Emir Ibn Hud, despite the numerical superiority of the latter. After a month-long siege in 1261, the city surrendered to Castile, but its Muslim population remained. It rebelled and was finally defeated in 1264.

Early modern period

The discovery of America and the conquest of Granada, in 1492, made Jerez one of the most prosperous cities of Andalusia through trade and through its proximity to the ports of Seville and Cádiz. Despite the social, economic and political decadence that occurred in the seventeenth century, towards the end of the Habsburg rule, the city managed to maintain a reasonable pace of development, becoming world-famous for its wine industry.

Economy

The economy of Jerez has traditionally been centred on the wine industry, with exports of sherry worldwide. Because it lacks the civil service that other cities enjoy, Jerez has based its economy on industry. The cultivation of fruits, grains, and vegetables and horse and cattle husbandry has also been important to the local economy. It is the home base for the Spanish Military Stud farm, the Yeguada Militar de Jerez de la Frontera.

After the wine crisis in the 1990s, the city is now seeking to expand its industrial base. Tourism has been successfully promoted. The city’s strong identity as a center for wine, flamenco, and horses, its popular festivals, MotoGP hosting and its historical heritage have contributed to this success.

The city is the home of Jerez Airport and has also been positioning itself as a logistics hub for western Andalucia, through the integration between the airport, the rail system and nearby ports.

Climate

Jerez de la Frontera and the rest of the Cádiz metropolitan area has a Subtropical–Mediterranean climate, yet for its situation being inland (specially the airport which is more inland than the city) the Atlantic influences are small, it is characterized by mild, short winters with occasional cool nights and hot, long summers with occasional very hot temps, unlike the surrounding coastal areas which are characterized by very mild winters and long warm summers. Most of the rain falls from October to January, while the summers are very dry but not rainless. For its situation being inland, the daytime temps are bigger than in the coast, as well as the lows are cooler, with a difference of at least 10 ºC between the highs and the low temps during every month. The average annual temperature is 24.4 °C (76 °F) during the day and 11.9 °C (53 °F) at night. The average annual precipitation is 570 mm (22.4 in) per year, concentrated in the months of October through April. December is the wettest month with 109 mm (4.3 in). The city averages 53 rainy days, 137 clear days and 2,965 hours of sunshine a year. Snow is extremely rare, and it is even more infrequent than in most of the southern European islands. The last snowfall recorded in the city happened in February 2, 1954. Since then, no snowfall has been recorded.

Main sights

Religious sites

The Cathedral
Church of San Miguel (15th century), in Gothic–Baroque style
Church of San Mateo, in Gothic style, the oldest in the city
The Charterhouse
Church of Santiago, dating to the time of Alfonso X of Castile (reigned 1252-1284)
Church of San Juan de los Caballeros, created after Alfonso X’s conquest of the city in 1264
Church of San Marcos (13th century)
Church of San Dionisio (13th century), built around 1457
Church of San Lucas, built over an old mosque
Church of San Francisco, containing the grave of Queen Blanca de Borbón (died 1361)
Church of San Pedro
Chapel of San Juan de Letrán
Calvary Chapel
Chapel of Los Desamparados
Convent of San José
Covent of Santa María de Gracia
Convento of Espíritu Santo
Hermitage of San Isidro Labrador
Hermitage of San Telmo
Church of Santo Domingo
Church of Los Descalzos
Convent of Las Reparadoras
Church of La Victoria
Hermitage of La Ina
Basílica del Carmen de Jerez

Palaces and manors

Palacio Duque de Abrantes
Palacio de Bertemati
Palacio de Riquelme
Palacio de Camporreal
Palacio de Riquelme
Palace of Marqués de Montana
Palacio Dávila
Palacio de Luna
Palacio de Villapanés
Palacio Pemartín
Palacio de Villavicencio
Casa Petra de la Riva
Casa-palacio de la calle Lealas, número 20
Palacio San Blas
Palacio del Marqués de Villamarta
Palacio del Conde de los Andes
Palacio de Mirabal
Casa-palacio de los Ponce de León
Palacio del Barón de Algar del Campo
Palacio de los Condes de Puerto Hermoso
Palacio de los Condes de Montegil
Casa de los Basurto

Museums

Archaeological Museum
Bullfighting Museum
Nativity scene Museum
Museos de la Atalaya
Pinacoteca Rivero
Museo del Traje Andaluz
Museo de Tecnología Agraria Antonio Cabral
Museo del Enganche

Other monuments

Old City Hall of Jerez de la Frontera, built in 1575
Alcazar of Jereze de la Frontera, a Moorish fortress, dating to the 11th century
Zoo and Botanical Garden of Jerez.
Villamarta Theatre
Gallo Azul, built in 1927
Walls of Jerez de la Frontera

Main factories

González Byass
Domecq
Grupo Estévez
Grupo Garvey
Williams & Humbert
Bodegas de Pilar Plá
Bodegas Tradición
Sánchez Romate
Bodegas Lustau

Other infrastructure

Crocodile Farm Kariba, unique in Spain.
Circuit of Jerez
Jerez Airport
Fair Institution of Cádiz
Chapín Stadium
Walk of Fame Jerez de la Frontera
Military Stud of de Jerez de la Frontera
Jerez Bullring
Roundabout of Minotaur
Playground “Children’s City”
Water Tower of Jerez
Old fish market
Sala Compañía
Centro Andaluz de Flamenco
Zoco de Artesanía de Jerez
Children’s Traffic Park

Wine

Jerez is known as the world capital of sherry wine. Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the town of Jerez. Jerez has been a centre of viniculture since winemaking was introduced to Spain by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC. The practice was carried on by the Romans when they took control of Iberia around 200 BC. The Moors conquered the region in AD 711 and introduced distillation, which led to the development of brandy and fortified wine. Sherry became very popular in Great Britain. Because sherry was a major wine export to the United Kingdom, many English companies and styles developed. Many of the Jerez cellars were founded by British families.

The city has many bodegas (wineries), many of which are of British origin. The most important are:

González Byass: González Byass is one of Spain’s most well-known sherry bodegas. Its origins can be traced to 1835 when it was founded by Manuel María González Angel, who was subsequently joined by his English agent, Robert Blake Byass. The firm produces the fino sherry Tío Pepe. According to the Guinness World Records, the world’s largest weather vane is located in Gonzalez Byass winery in Jerez, Spain.
Williams & Humbert: This is a winery located in Jerez de la Frontera dedicated to the production of sherry wines and brandies and other liqueurs. It was founded in 1877 by Sir Alexander Williams and Arthur Humbert.
Grupo Garvey: Grupo Garvey was founded in 1780 by William Garvey Power. Currently, it is considered one of the most important companies for wine, brandy and liqueurs.
Grupo Estévez: Estevez Group owns the prestigious wineries Marqués del Real Tesoro and Valdespino, one of the oldest in the area (with origins dating from 1430).
Domeqc: Domecq is a winemaking company founded by Álvaro Domecq Díez’s father. It is located in Jerez de la Frontera.

Brandy de Jerez is a brandy that is produced only in the Jerez area of Andalusia, Spain (exclusively produced within the “Sherry Triangle”, the municipal boundaries of Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda, in the province of Cádiz).

“Enoturism” is a quite new kind of tourism that looks for places where wines and distilled beverages are produced. Recently the Route of Sherry Wine and Brandy de Jerez has been established.

Also, Brandy de Jerez is being used in Spanish cuisine in recent years, especially with meats.

Carthusian breed of horses

Jerez is the original home of the Carthusian sub-strain of the Andalusian horse breed, known as the Caballo cartujano in Spain. In the latter 1400s, the Carthusian monks began breeding horses on lands donated by Álvaro Obertos de Valeto for construction of the Charterhouse of Jerez de la Frontera (la Cartuja de Jerez de la Frontera). When the Spanish Crown decreed that Spanish horse breeders should breed their Andalusian stock with Neapolitan and central European stock, the monks refused to comply, and continued to select their best specimens to develop their own jealously guarded bloodline for almost four hundred years.

Jerez is the home of the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, a riding school comparable to the famous Spanish Riding School of Vienna.

Another famous equine institution headquartered in Jerez is the Yeguada Militar de Jerez de la Frontera (known outside Spain as the Yeguada Militar), the Spanish military stud farm dedicated to the breeding of purebred Andalusian and Arabian horses. Founded in 1847, it became the official stud farm of the Spanish military in 1893.

The 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games were held in Jerez at the Estadio Municipal de Chapín, which was remodeled for the event, from September 10 to September 22, 2002. This was the 4th edition of the games, which are held every four years and run by the FEI.

Flamenco

Jerez, the city where flamenco singing began, is also proud of its Andalusian Centre of Flamenco. It was founded in 1993 to safeguard and promote the values and standards of flamenco. It is devoted to the investigation, recovery, and collection of flamenco-related historical documents, whether they are in audio, visual, or journalistic form. It also has a collection of flamenco artifacts, including musical instruments, costumes, promotional posters, sheet music, and postcards. The Centre operates a museum and library to help educate the public and serve as a resource for scholars. Its origins date back to the 18th century and it is currently considered an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. Many of the most famous personalities of the city are involved in the performance of flamenco, including La Paquera de Jerez, Lola Flores and José Mercé.

Festivals

Since 1987 the Grand Prix motorcycle racing has been held at the Circuito de Jerez in early May. Thousands of motorbikers from around the world come to the city this week to watch the MotoGP race held in Jerez annually. The race is one of the most watched races in Europe.

Another popular festival is the Feria del Caballo, one of the most famous Spanish fairs, and the most important fair in the province of Cádiz. It is celebrated annually in the Parque González Hontoria for one week in May, occurring always after the Spanish motorcycle Grand Prix. All booths (casetas) at the fair are open to the public, so that attendees may walk into any one of them and enjoy the food, drinks, and dancing. This is one of the main features that differentiates the Feria de Jerez from the rest of the Andalusian Fairs, such as the Seville Fair, where most of the casetas are private and only card-holding members are allowed in.

Holy Week in Jerez, as in other cities in Andalusia, commemorates the Passion of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated by Catholic religious brotherhoods and fraternities that perform penance processions on the streets during the last week of Lent, the week immediately before Easter.

During the Christmas season, from the end of November to the end of December, many peñas (religious clubs) celebrate the holidays with public festivals where anyone can go to drink, eat, dance and sing Christmas carols, accompanied by friction drums called zambombas.

There are also:

Flamenco festival de Jerez
Carnival of Jerez
Fiestas de la Vendimia

Transportation

Airport

El Aeropuerto de Jerez, also known as Aeropuerto de La Parra, is the main airport in the province of Cádiz. It is located 8 km (5 mi) north of the city centre and is connected to the city by train and bus.

It was built in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War by the Nationalists in order to transport soldiers from Africa to Spain. The airport was open to civil traffic in 1992. It is the third most important airport in Andalucia after Malaga and Seville.

Train

Jerez has had a railway line since 1854, which was one of the first in Spain. The line went between Jerez and El Puerto de Santa María and transported wine barrels for export. La estación de Jerez is the station, with more passengers than Cádiz and the fourth busiest in Andalucia.

Next to the Aeropuerto de Jerez, there is a new train station which connects the airport to nearby Jerez, and also to Cádiz, Sevilla, Lebrija, Utrera, El Puerto de Santa María, and San Fernando.

Bus

The city of Jerez has 16 bus lines:

L 1 Esteve-San Telmo-Constitución
L 2 Esteve-Picadueñas
L 3 Esteve-La Plata-Mosto-San Juan de Dios
L 4 Esteve-García Lorca-El Altillo
L 5 Esteve-Campus-Guadalcacín
L 6 Esteve-Campus-La Granja
L 7 Angustias-La Pita-Estella del Marqués
L 8 Circunvalación I
L 9 Circunvalación II
L 10 Canaleja-Atlántico-Esteve-Hacienda-Hospital
L 12 Alcázar-C. Salud San Telmo-El Portal/Guadabajaque
L 13 Alcázar-Blas Infante-Asisa
L 14 Esteve-Villas Este-La Marquesa
L 16 Casinos-Hipercor-Ortega Y Gasset
L 19 Nueva Jarilla-Guadalcacín-Angustias
L 20 Rotonda-García Lorca-Guadalcacín

Intercity buses

From Jerez are made regular trips to the following towns:

Alcalá del Valle
Algeciras
Barbate
Cádiz
Chiclana de la Frontera
Chipiona
El Puerto de Santa María
Los Barrios
Madrid
Málaga
Medina-Sidonia
Ronda
Rota
San José del Valle
San Fernando
Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Sevilla
Trebujena
Zahara de los Atunes

Bicycle

Jerez has 41 km (25 mi) of bike lanes that follow the main avenues of the city.

Demographics

According to official population data from INE, the municipality of Jerez had 212,876 inhabitants as of January 1, 2015. This makes Jerez the most populous city in the province, fifth in Andalusia, and 25th in Spain.


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