Famous for Sherry, Flamenco and Andalusian Horses, Jerez is the 5th largest City in Andalucia.
‘Sherry’ is a corruption of the word ‘Jerez’ and the fortified wines became famous all around the world.
Wealthy merchants built palatial mansions in the centre of the City and their Sherry & Brandy Bodegas were established close by.
Jerez is the original home of the Carthusian sub-strain of the Andalusian horse breed, known as the ‘Caballo Cartujano’.
In the late15th Century, Carthusian monks began breeding horses on donated lands. 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.
Each year, normally in May, a colourful Horse Show ‘Feira del Caballo’ is held in Jerez, attracting horse lovers from all over the world.
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 until in 1053 it was annexed to Seville.
In the 12th and 13th Centuries, Jerez underwent a period of great development, building its defence 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.
The discovery of the Americas made Jerez prosperous through trade due to its proximity to the ports of Seville and Cádiz.
After the ‘Phylloxera’ wine crisis in the 1990s, Jerez is diversifying. Tourism has been successfully promoted. With a strong identity as a centre for wine, flamenco, horses, popular festivals and Moto GP, it is slowly resurrecting itself.