VEJER DE LA FRONTERA
Vejer is one the most beautiful and charming towns of Andalucia. As mentioned in many of the tourist guides around the world, travelling through southern Spain and not visiting this town is unforgivable.
Although it’s all beautiful and labyrinthine, the old part of the town, declared a Historic Artistic Monument in 1976, is undoubtedly the most interesting part of the town. The layout of its streets and houses with immaculate white walls and arches creates a beautiful geometry… full of charm.
From the highway, the best entrance to Vejer is located at exit 36. After a steep climb, you reach “Parque de los Remedios” , where you must leave your car in the large public carpark. The Tourist Office is situated here, you can get yourself a map and information of the town.
Beginning here you reach the start of the “Corredera”, a magnificent viewpoint from which you get stunning views of the landscape surrounding the town. Above this place is the “Plazuela”, and in it the historical convent of San Francisco, converted into a luxury hotel. Located behind the monastery is the food market, south of which, is “Juan Relinque” street. The surrounding streets are very interesting with beautiful traditional houses, most with bright and flowery patios.
Many of the historical monuments lie to the north of the town. Therefore, from the “Plaza” it’s better to go up “Nuestra señora de la Oliva” street, which reaches the Palace of the “Marques de Tamaron”. Now home to the “Casa de Cultura”, and the Archway of “Segur”, the first of the four town gates, dated X century. Named after the axe or “Segur”, symbol of the Roman Public Servants and which you can see, embedded in the wall next to a shield of the Mendoza family. On the other side of the Archway, to the left is a piece of the old Town wall which is a superb viewing point. While on the right are the walls of the Church of the Divine Savior. Here you can also find the Joplin Pub, after forty years an institution of Vejer nightlife.
Walking down Jose Castrillon Shelly Street, turning left into the alleys of the town, you reach the Archway of Sancho IV, another of the historical gates of the town also from the tenth century. In this small square stands the house of “Mayorazgo”, an old Baroque Palace from the XVIII Century with a magnificent facade and two interior courtyards. Leaving the Archway and following the Corredera to the right, you reach the square of the Father Caro, where you can find the Convent of Our Lady of Mercedes, founded by the Dukes of Medina Sidonia in the Seventeenth Century.
Opposite the convent is the Plaza of Spain, the administrative centre of the Town. Circular and shaded by palm trees, it’s one of the most picturesque squares of the Town. It’s called the “square of the fish” after the goldfish that lived in the beautiful tiled fountain that stands in the centre, built in the first half of the Twentieth Century. On one side stands the Town Hall and the Trafalgar Restaurant, another institution, this time of dining! Among the best houses that stand there was the Old Magistrate’s Court, at number 13 which is now occupied by a hotel. From this square you have a beautiful view of the Archway of the Villa, main gate of the Town.
From here, up Canalejas street you reach Captain Quintanilla street, full of flowers, and the beginning of Rosary street, which leads to the Father Angel Square, where you find the Church of the Saviour. A remarkable building that looks like an old fortress, built between the fourteenth and fifteenth Century on the site of an ancient mosque built in late Gothic style with “Mudejar” elements.
In the Ramon y Cajal Street is the Church of the Convent of the Conception, Capuchin, founded in 1558 and then occupied by Conceptionists nuns. Outside of worship, the church is for cultural uses. A little lower down the Street is The Castle, declared a National Monument in 1931. Its origin is Muslim, built in the tenth and eleventh centuries, and renovated between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries by the Dukes of Medina Sidonia.
Next to the convent is the Arch of the Nuns Street, one of the most unique streets of the Town, that crosses through the Old Jewish Quarter, at the end of which is the “Puerta Cerrada” archway, which was also called “Berbería” gate. Also built between the tenth and twelfth Century. Outside is another great viewpoint with a monument to the “Cobijada”, traditional Veiled Women from medieval Vejer.
Following on from here by Juan Bueno Street and then by San Miguel Avenue, you reach a small peak where you can see the historic windmills, one of which is the Information Point for The “Breña” Natural Park and Salt marshes of Barbate.