As well as the wine, the cattle-rearing industry is also significant, especially cows and horses, with its Horse Fair being one of the most important fiestas in the city.
FIESTAS AND EVENTS
The way they celebrate Christmas in Jerez is very special, with the traditional “zambombadas” celebrated in the city’s yards and gardens, with carol singing and “coplas” passed down over generations.
Traditions related to the world of wine are celebrated in the Autumn Fiestas, with the first stamping on grapes Uvasin the first fortnight of September. Activities change from year to year and are in no particular order. Fiestas del Otoño.
The Jerez Flamenco Festival is considered to be the best in the world and in 2007 it was held for the eleventh time. The number of visitors and media sent to cover it bring a great deal of income to Jerez, which is unique in its importance for Flamenco. La bulería is the hallmark of flamenco in Jerez, together with tango, la seguiriya and la soleá. Jerez’s links with Cadiz and its ports is very important and some of the Flamenco greats were born in Jerez, including Lola Flores, Terremoto, La Paquera, José Mercé…
The Holy Easter Week is one of the best in Andalusia, with traditional “saetas” or Flamenco songs sung in the city’s streets, and 36 processions parading through the city.
The Spanish Motorcycle Grand Prix is one of the main events in Jerez, with one of the year’s first trials in the world championship calendar. It’s the most widely attended Grand Prix and the motorcyclists literally take over the city, or rather the province, for a whole weekend.
The Horse Fair is held in May and is one of the most widely visited in Andalusia.
The streets of Jerez are bursting with monuments. Here are some of the most important:
Cabildo Antiguo (Old Town Council), Plaza de la Asunción: one of the city’s most representative images, with a Renaissance facade, and grandiose statues of Julius Caesar and Hercules.
Torre de la Atalaya (Plaza de Plateros): known as the Clock Tower, since the fifteenth century it has been used as a watchtower.
Palacio Domecq: one of the stately homes built by the Jerez aristocracy, this palace is from the second half of the eighteenth century
Casa de Pérez-Luna: with the same origins as the Palacio de Domecq, its beautifully decorated balcony is particularly outstanding
Casa de Riquelme: Looking onto the Plaza del Mercado, the old stately centre of Jerez, is the facade of the incomplete Riquelme Palace, whose decoration is a great example of Jerez Plateresque architecture.
The Cathedral: Baroque, and built between 1695 and 1778 on the Salvador Church. Inside it houses the chapels of las ánimas, Cristo de la Viga, the Inmaculada and the Sagrario. Among the works of art conserved there are the “La Virgen de niña”, a painting by Zurbarán and the paintings of Juan Rodríguez “El Tahonero”. The tower is of Mudejar origin and is different to the rest of the building, as it was possibly a Christianised minaret from a Mosque.
La Cartuja (Carthusian monastery): La Cartuja de Jerez, built on the initiative of the Knight álvaro Obertos de Valeto in the second half of the fifteenth century, is possibly the most artistically valuable religious building in the province of Cadiz. The Greco-Roman door by Andrés de Ribera is particularly interesting, as is the chapel of Santa María de la Defensión, head of the convent; the small Gothic cloisters, the Arrayanes courtyard and the paintings by Roelas that decorate the Church’s main altar.
El Alcázar: This fortress is the most significant and oldest civil-military monument in Jerez. With its square floor, this twelfth century building is of Almohad origin and was the La Cartuja de Jerezresidence of the Seville caliphs and headquarters of the Christian governors after the fall of the city in the hands of Alfonso X. Amongst its magnificently restored annexes are the Christianised mosque dedicated to Santa María la Real, the Arabic baths and the well tended gardens. Of particular interest in the fortress are the octagonal tower, the Torre del Homenaje and that of Ponce de León, which was added much later than the original building.