Jerez

picture of andalusian horseJerez is known as the home of Sherry wine. The highest point in town is a restored Moorish palace the Alcazar. The Moors who gave Jerez its name (Xeris) dwelt in the area until 1264 when Jerez was recaptured by the Christian king Alfonso X in 1264 following a five-month siege. In 1998 the restored palace of Alcazar opened to the public for the first time.

On hand were outstanding examples of a miniature mosque and exquisite Moorish baths. Another monument is the 15th-century Carthusian monastery located a few miles from Jerez. It is the only Carthusian monastery in Andalucia and continues to function to this day.

The monks returned there in 1948 after an absence of more than one hundred years. This monastery is famous as the birthplace of a Spanish breed of horse known as the Carthusian horse or the Cartujano.

The Cartujano is thought to be the purest strain of Spanish horse which was developed by monks through selective breeding started over 500 years ago.

Despite changing hands a few times, the horses (numbering around 200) are still bred today at their modern home at the Fuente del Suero ranch that is within sight of the monastery. In 1998 Fuente del Suero opened to visitors who can see the horses on Saturdays. The ranch serves as a stud farm and is home to the legendary stallion Poseido VII.

To see the Cartujano as well as other Spanish breeds at their finest, a visit to Jerez's renowned Royal School of Equestrian Art is a must. The school features an equestrian demonstration which has become one of the town's major attractions.

Source: An Andalusian Experience

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