The Top Museums to Visit in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
Entrance to the museum of clocks and watches in Jerez de la Frontera | © El Pantera / WikiCommons
There are some great museums to visit in Jerez de la Frontera, exploring everything from equestrian art to the city’s strong flamenco tradition. Read on for our pick of the best museums to visit in this beautiful Andalusian city.
Andalusian Centre of Flamenco
Housed in a beautiful 15th century mansion in the Santiago flamenco neighbourhood, the Centro Andaluz de Flamenco is a must for anyone wanting to learn more about this singular art. Opened in 1987 to document and safeguard flamenco’s centuries-old traditions, it comprises research facilities as well as an informative exhibition of prints, photographs and explanatory panels looking at influential artists and the deep flamenco tradition of Jerez.
‘s Museo Arqueológico houses one of the most important archaeological collections in Cádiz, with exhibits spread over nine light-filled rooms on three floors. Those on the ground floor date from the Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods; on the first floor, we find pieces from the Copper Age – including a Greek helmet from 7 B.C. – and the Roman Visigothic period; whilst on the second floor, the Islamic and late medieval eras are explored.
The Museo del Enganches is housed in a beautiful early 19th century wine cellar and explores all aspects of horse-driving. On display throughout its six rooms are ornate carriages from the 19th and 20th centuries as well as harnesses and other essential carriage-driving equipment. Visitors can also watch grooms demonstrate how horses and tack are maintained to the high standards set by the nearby Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art.
If you’ve time on your hands (sorry), head to the Atalaya Museum (Watchtower Museum), informally referred to as the Watches Museum (Museo del Relojes). Here, you’ll find over 300 antique clocks and watches, most in full working order, dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Looking magnificent after a refurbishment in 2002, the collection features elaborate timepieces from manufacturers such as Le Roy, Berthaid and Losada. And every fifteen minutes, they all chime in unison.
Nativity Scene Museum
A great place to visit as a family (and/or if you simply love the nativity story) is the Museo Belén, or Nativity Scene Museum. Housed in a beautiful old building a about a fifteen walk out of the centre, this quirky collection is made up of three-dimensional models, of various sizes and styles, depiciting Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, many also with the gift-bearing wise men in attendance. Make sure you time your visit well, as it’s only open for two hours a week.
Equestrian Art Museum
Art Gallery, Museum
This fascinating museum is located on the premises of Jerez’s Royal School of Equestrian Art, which is famous for its spectacular equine ballets. Housed in an elegant 19th century building, it explores the history of the school and the art of horsemanship in southern Spain, as well as themes such as the evolution of the horse and horses in mythology. Also open to visitors are the indoor arena used for the school’s famous shows, the tack room and the saddlery.
“Would you like to feel like an English Lord of the 19th century”? If you’re nodding your head to that, book yourself on the “Sherry Wines, Sherry Chimes” tour, offered by Jerez’s Wine Museum. Officially called the Misterio de Jerez, (Mystery of Jerez), this museum is part of the Atalaya complex that also comprises the Watches Museum – and this tour takes in both, thus making you feel like a member of the aristocracy in 19th century England. At the wine museum itself you’ll learn all about the history and secrets of sherry production in Jerez.