In 1264 the city was called Xeres and it was a prosperous walled city. ( Xeres gives us the word ‘sherry’, the name given to the fortified wine produced in Jerez until this day. )
The city was already old when the Moors, led by Tariq, arrived in the ninth century, having been a Roman settlement and, before that ( it is thought ) a Greek one. The remains of the Arab walls can still be seen today, though these are twelfth century. The Alcazar, or castle, is still there and much of it has been excavated to show the earlier structure.
There were four fortified gates, which approximated to the points of the compass ( N, S, E & W ). Main roads lead between them, but the city had a maze of smaller roads. Many of them are still there and some of the names of the roads and squares, like Juderia, Plaza Plateros, Plaza Mercado and Arenal are still being used today.
To read more about the history of Jerez click here.
Xeres, or Jerez, was part of Al Andalus, which originally stretched across most of the Iberian peninsular, but was, by the time our story opens, restricted to what is now the Spanish region of Andalucia. Its major centres were Xeres, Malaga, Granada, Cordova and Sevilla, though there were lots of smaller towns, like Medina Sidonia, Algeciras and Antequera and villages like Vejer. Most of these feature in ‘Reconquista‘.