Jerez de la Frontera is a municipality in the province of Cádiz in the autonomous community of Andalucia, in southwestern Spain, situated midway between the sea and the mountains. As of 2010, the city, the largest in the province, had 208,896 inhabitants; it is the fifth largest in Andalucia. It 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.
The Discovery of America and the conquest of Granada, in 1492, made Jerez one of the most prosperous cities of Andalucia through trade and its proximity to the ports of Seville and Cadiz. 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 wide famous for its wine industry.
Jerez has always been an important trading city in which the most traditional products and ancient crafts can be found (barrel-making, wicker work, items related to wine or flamenco, saddling, etc.), with the many boutiques and companies where you can find the most exclusive of these products.
Jerez is also the site of Circuito de Jerez, formerly called the Circuito Permanente de Jerez, where the annual Motorcycle Grand Prix is contested. The race course is a prime destination for Formula One teams who wish to perform off-season testing; it also hosted the highly controversial 1997 European Grand Prix.
The town possesses a charming old town, casco antiguo, with beautiful palm lined squares. The 11th century Moorish fortress, or Alcazaba, has been partially restored. Of special interest is its church, originally built by the Arabs as a mosque. The Sacristy of the Cathedral del Salvador is home to a lovely painting by Zurbarán, The Sleeping Girl. Today the city of Jerez has a remarkably aristocratic air with wide streets, squares and magnificent rows of jacaranda trees during spring.
The restaurants in Jerez are generally of very high standard, having improved in quality over recent years. Many restaurants offer traditional Jerez cuisine of the highest level, prepared by professional chefs with long standing experience. The main restaurant area is located along the C/Constitorio and Plaza Vargas. In Spain it is unusual to eat an evening meal before 9.00pm. and Spaniards are often to seen arriving to eat as late as 11.00pm. Lunchtime too, begins later than in many other countries and diners can arrive as “late” as 3.30 or 4.00pm.
- The Cathedral of San Salvador is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Asidonia-Jerez. It was declared Bien de Interés Cultural in 1931. Built in the 17th century, it is a mix of Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassicist style. It was elevated to the rank of cathedral in 1980. The church is on the central plan, a nave and four aisles of uneven height, supported external by normal and flying buttresses; in correspondence of the crossing of the transept is a dome. The interior houses a Virgin Mary by Francisco Zurbarán, and a late 15th century Gothic Crucifix (named Cristo de la Viga).
- The Charterhouse of Jerez is a monastery in Jerez de la Frontera. Its architecture is of a Late Gothic style, corresponding to the start of construction in the 15th century, with Baroque aspects dating from the 17th century. The building, completed in the 17th century, has been designated by the Spanish government as an Historic-Artistic Monument. The impulse behind the monastery dates back to Alvaro Obertos de Valeto, a knight of Genovese descent, appointed during the Reconquista by Alfonso X of Castile to defend the city shortly Alfonso had conquered it from Muslim rule in 1264. Lacking descendants, he left his fortune to establish a Carthusian monastery in the city. It was not until 1475 that this location near the Guadalete River was chosen, of special significance because in 1368 it has been the site of a victorious battle against invaders; the victory was attributed to intercession by the Virgin Mary, to whom a hermitage had been dedicated on the site.
- The Andalusian Centre of Flamenco is an institution in Jerez, founded in 1993 to safeguard and promote the values and standards of the traditional Andalusian art form known as 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.
- The Museo Arqueológico Municipal de Jerez de la Frontera is an archaeological museum on the Plaza del Mercado. The museum occupies an 18th-century building which was declared Bien de Interés Cultural in 1962. It was established in 1873 as the Municipal Archaeological Collection, merging collections donated by wealthy individuals, and based at the Old City Hall of Jerez. The museum opened to the public in 1935. The collection includes a Corinthian helmet, extremely rare in Spain, found near the city's Charterhouse by the river Guadalete. The collection also includes Roman ceramics and other items.