Streets and Squares, Jerez de la Frontera
The Plaza del Arenal was once the place of bullfights, and battles and duels between knights, but today a peaceful square in the center of Jerez de la Frontera.
It is surrounded by some old buildings, decorated with a beautiful stone mosaic, and there are trees and flowers, and a horse monument to Don Miguel Primo de Rivera y Orbaneja (1870-1930), who served as Prime Minister of Spain from 1923 to 1930 during Spain's Restoration era.
As the name says - the centre of Flamenco, full of photos and posters. Everyday u can watch a 1,5 movie about flamenco(in spanish). However, what I found most interesting was the buiding itself, especially its courtyard, so tipical for Andalucia
This December (2007) in Plaza Arenal I came across this unusual site for the South of Spain: ICE SKATING. Well It wasn't really ice skating as there was no ice and it would be impossible to keep ice frozen here even in December. What it was, instead was large slippery floor tiles that people slid on skates which looked like ice skates, but I doubt they are as sharp.
The Jerezano's seemed to be enjoying this taste of real winter anyway, as it never snows here and never gets below zero during the day therefore Christmas isn't so Christamasy normally.
The church you can see in the photo is San Dioniso , and the leafy and shady plaza can be found behind the commercial area of the town not far from the Alcazar. There are plenty of places to eat local dishes or drink here or if you want to try something different there is a bar which has many German and foreign beers and a Mexican Restaurant just off the plaza on Calle Chapineria.
The some of the outskirts of Jerez can only be described as ugly blocks of badly painted flats, other zones are uniform houses. Apart from the interesting round a bouts with interesting statues in the middle (such as colourful horses or a huge human form) the best part of Jerez is it's heart. The centre of Jerez is filled with shady plazas and large squares which make great places to sit out on a terrace and eat Berza (typical dish) for lunch or simply have a coffee.
Jerez is an inland town in the Province of Cadiz therefore gets hotter than other towns in the area in summer.
So in general Jerez is pretty and has some interesting things to do and see such as the sherry bodegas, but if you are coming to the area on holiday I recommend staying there 2 days MAXIMUM then moving on to other towns such as Vejer or Arcos de la Frontera or of course Cadiz capital. El Puerto de Santa Maria is very close but is largely the same as Jerez, though it does have a nice beach to offer.
The Photo beside, is of the square leading to the main shopping road.
Look up at the top of the monument in Plaza Ascuncion in the centre of Jerez and you will see this graceful statue of the Virgin Mary.
Other pictures show the handsome facade of the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de la Merced which is also near the centre of the town, flowers tumbling off a balcony, another church with an illustration of the Madonna surrounded by flying angels, and a winding street with Arab windows.
The Old Fish Market or Calle Pescaderia Vieja is not much more than an alley that runs from the north-west side of Plaza del Arenal to Calle Pozuelo . Approached through an arch, the Calle is now home to several bars/restaurants including El Almacenito and Bar Juanito. Both bars specialise in fish - no surprise there.
The second picture shows the beautiful tiled mural behind the bar in Bar Juanito.
Plaza de la Asuncion lies in the centre of Jerez, and in 2003 was used for the Flamenco concerts held in the evings of the Fiestas de Otono. Facing the square on the south side is the Old Town Hall. It dates from 1575, and has a wonderful Renaissance facade. The statues either side of the entrance depict Julius Caesar and Hercules.
Plaza Arenal is the main formal square in Jerez
or was until they dug it up in 2004 to build an underground car park ............
I trust that they'll put it back again afterwards.
Update - May 2006
The car park is finished and open, and the square is being reinstated. It should be finished by mid-summer. The statues and fountains are back in place, and the paving is well under way.
If you look at the Jerez website, there is an aerial photograph (part of the map facility) that was taken whilst the square was closed !
One of your first stops in the city should be to visit this touristic office and get yourself a nice map of the city. Jerez is not too big, and you can walk your way around with the help of a good map.
The Atalaya watch tower stands beside the church of San Dionisio facing Plaza Plateros. The church itself faces Plaza de la Asunción and is built on the site of an Arab mosque.
This area lies just to the west of the Alcazar, and is great to just sit and rest away from the traffic