Vejer de la Frontera

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Vejer de la Frontera

Postby Lavanda » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:04 pm

Vejer de la Frontera

Every September, for the last few years, a friend and I have gone to Vejer de la Frontera to teach an Art Course. Well, she, a professional artist and lecturer, does that while I loll about having a holiday. Vejer is a pretty place and a typical Andalucían white-washed village built into the side of one or more hills. It is a popular place for day-trippers who arrive on coaches and even come from the cruise ships docked in Cádiz. The village is mainly pedestrianised during the day but there is a huge, free car park just outside the main part of the village on the Avda. de los Remedios. It’s as you come in from the CN-340 and then the A-48. The Tourist office is located by the car park.

Vejer has great little restaurants and a variety of bars and cafés. It’s a busy place in the Summer and at weekends. Strangely, it has a great many shops selling Moroccan leather goods but even more strange is the variety of shops selling Indian themed everything. Why? I have no idea. One beautiful place is the ceramic shop, tucked down a tiny side-street, that sells local, and very nice, pottery — the huge salad bowls are especially impressive and my collection is growing. has already got a list of what to see and where to go so this is just a potted history to whet your appetites for a visit.

The Phoenicians & Carthaginians
Vejer owes its early origin to its strong strategic position which provided the town with natural good defences and easy access to the sea by river. Vejer was a settlement in the Paleolithic era and by the Bronze Age, fortifications had been established on the hilltop. Historical references take us back to the time of the Carthaginians (c 400BC). In pre-Roman times the city was known as Besaro and maps of the Roman empire show Vejer marked as Bessipo. 
The Romans, Vandals & Visigoths
Visible relics from the time of the Roman rule (in 216BC Cornelius Scipio conquered Cádiz during the Punic wars) include the footpath of the Cuesta de La Barca and the foundations of the Gate of Sancho el Bravo at the eastern end of the Corredera. The Barbarian migration of peoples: Goths, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Suevi and Alans, into Spain finally ended Roman rule. For 400 years the Visigoths occupied the Southern Spain but spent most of their time fighting each other. A part of the vault of the Parish Church originates from the period of the Visigoths.
The Islamic invasion
In 711, the Visigoths were defeated in a decisive battle against the Arabs at the Lagoon of the river Barbate ("Laguna La Janda") close to Vejer. In the following centuries the old town developed its essential characteristics (castle, fortification and layout of the streets and houses). The town became Moorish with Arabic the language of choice. Places of worship became mosques and clothes, food and customs all became Moorish.
The Reconquest
At the beginning of the 13th century, during the Reconquest, the first Christian troops appeared in the area but it was not until 1248 that they finally conquered Vejer under the command of King Ferdinand of Castile. Vejer was given the name ‘de la Frontera’ like other towns in the area. This denoted that the town was a frontier between Christians and Moors. In 1264 Vejer once again fell to the Arabs but by 1285 the town was recaptured under Don Alonso Perez de Guzman, founder of the ducal house of Medina Sidonia. He became known as ‘Guzman el Bueno’. In 1292 Guzmán set out to defend Tarifa. During these fights he sacrificed one of his sons who had been captured by the Moors and held hostage in an attempt to force the city to surrender. He said, “I would rather live with honour but without my son, than live in dishonour with him at my side”. In 1293 Guzmán became the first Mayor of Vejer. Later on the whole town was given to him by King Ferdinand IV as a reward for his bravery and loyalty.
The repercussions of the re-conquest
As a consequence of the Christian victory Vejer lost its independence (it became merely a possession of the Guzman family) which later led to many conflicts between the local people and the Dukes of Medina Sidonia (the successors of Guzmán). In 1535 Juan Relinque, a citizen of Vejer, began his courageous fight at the court of Granada in his endeavour to regain the independence of his town from the Duke of Medina Sidonia. Although his arguments were supported by written law he nevertheless lost the fight after a number of years.  In 1566, 11 years after Juan Relinque’s death the court at Granada finally voted in favour of the residents of Vejer and the town regained its independence.
As an anecdote when Christopher Columbus' discovered the Americas in 1492, a citizen of Vejer — Alfonso de Clavijo — sailed with Columbus to the new World.
The Battle of Trafalgar
On the 21st October 1805, the British navy under the command of Admiral Nelson destroyed the unified French & Spanish Armada at nearby Cape Trafalgar and the roar of cannon fire could be heard in Vejer. ln 1811 Napoleon' s troops occupied Vejer. Don José Miranda Cabezón, led a successful campaign against the French occupation which helped bring about the liberation of Andalucía.
The Civil War years
Violent incursions by anarchists at the beginning of the Spanish civil war in 1936 revived the demand for a land reform. As a result of these incidents two dozen Moroccan soldiers from General Franco’s army occupied the city. Five inhabitants lost their lives in the fighting.

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Re: Vejer de la Frontera

Postby katy » Tue Oct 01, 2019 7:09 pm

Been quite a few posts on Vejer, one of my favourite places and an easy journey from the CDS. One of our old members Frank, who jumped before he was pushed mentioned it often.

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