Horses, wine and bulls make up the triad that defines the city of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. The city’s colorful culture and diverse history promise to provide a vibrant backdrop for the 2002 World Equestrian Games (WEG), which will take place in the Chapin Stadium in September.
If you are one of the lucky spectators who is attending the fourth WEG, the following is a resource for things to do and see in Jerez during your visit. But, even if Spain isn’t on your travel itinerary, we hope this will bring a little of the flavor of the games right to your easy chair.
Things to Do and See in Jerez
Flora & Fauna
Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art–Known as the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre, this prestigious facility was founded by Alvaro Domecq in the 1970s. The objectives of the school are selecting, breeding and improving the Andalusian breed. The school features an arena with a capacity for 1,600 spectators, five stables with stalls for 60 horses, a tack room featuring the school’s collection of traditional saddles, bridles and harnesses, a saddlers’ workshop and an onsite veterinary clinic. Their show, “Those Amazing Dancing Adalusian Horses” is an equestrian ballet, featuring choreography adapted from classical dressage and doma vaquera (Spanish cowboy-style riding) and set to traditional Spanish music. Special exhibitions will be given during the World Equestrian Games on Sept. 11, 14, 18 and 21 at 10 p.m.
Zool?gico y Parque Botanico Alberto D?ran (Jerez Zoo and Botanic Gardens)–Considered one of the best in Spain, the Jerez Zoo features an environmental education center and a wildlife conservation program with more than 1,300 animals representing 200 species from five continents. The botanic gardens are planted throughout the park.
Kariba Crocodile Farm–Home to more than 1,000 adult and baby crocodiles.
Museo Arqueol?gico–One of Andalusia’s best archaeological museums. Includes artifacts from Neolithic times up to the 18th century. The star item is a Greek helmet, found near Jerez, dating from the 7th century B.C.
Museo de los Relojes–A museum devoted entirely to clocks. Features one of Europe’s most prestigious collections of more than 300 working timepieces from the 17th to 19th centuries. The best time to visit is at noon when all the clocks chime in unison.
El Centro Andaluz de Flamenco (Andalusian Center of Flamenco)–Dedicated to the preservation of the art of Flamenco dancing and music. Museum contains art, photographs and textiles, all relating to this art form that is native to Jerez.
Museo Taurino (Bullfighting Museum and Restaurant)–Exhibits posters, photographs, sculptures and documents related to the world of bullfighting.
Learn about the history of sherry making and attend a wine tasting at some of the regions top bodegas such as Domecq, Gonz?lez Byass, Sandeman and John Harvey. Most bodegas welcome visitors, but reservations are advisable.
Gonz?lez Byass–Features an open-air aging cellar designed by Gustav Eiffel and wine barrels signed by famous visitors.
Domecq–Jerez’s oldest bodega that produces both sherry and Fundador, the world’s best-selling brandy.
El Misterio de Jerez–Two 19th century restored sherry warehouses. Tour takes visitors through the history of these wines with actors, giant images and music.
The Alc?zar–12th century Moorish fortress, later converted into a Christian stronghold. Once the residence of the caliphs of Seville (Moorish governors) and later the Christian governors after the fall of the city to Alfonso X. Includes a small, octagonal mosque that was converted into church, baths, towers and gardens. The camera obscura, located in the highest tower of the 17th century Palacio de Villavicencio that was built on the site of the original Moorish palace, offers a live 360 degree view of the city projected through lenses and mirrors.
The Cathedral–Built on the site of a former mosque with one tower that remains from the previous building. Largely baroque in architecture, it was built between 1695 and 1778. Features artwork by notable Spanish artists. Has an octagonal cupola and separate bell tower.
Fiesta de Oto?o (Autumn Festival )–From Sept. 24-Oct. 9. Celebration of the grape harvest. Taking place during the international week of the horse, this festival involves many activities centered around the horse including the Great Horse Parade with more than 1,000 riders.
Fiesta de la Buler?a–A tribute to Flemenco dancing and music on Sept. 14 at the Bullring.
Duarte–The best-known saddle shop in Jerez. Sends beautiful leather goods all over the world, including to the British royal family.
Links for More Information
Official WEG Stamps (in Spanish)
Equestrian Tourist Attractions
Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Arts
Fodor’s Miniguide to Andalusia
List of Riding Stables (in Spanish)
Links to the Andalusia Region
Fodor’s Mini-Guide – Andalucia
Spanish Abroad – Nearby Towns and Day Trips
Links to Jerez de la Frontera
Jerez de la Frontera – CadizNet
Vendimia Festival (begins Sept. 8)
Read more about the World Equestrian Games in the September 2002 issue of Dressage Today.
Dressage Today magazine is the premier source of information for all riders dedicated to improving their riding through the universal training technique of dressage. Subscribe using our secure online subscription form.