Best Sights of Jaen Province

Jaen Province is a sea of olive trees, with millions of them. The Phoenicians were the first people to cultivate the tree around the 7th century B.C. Ever since then, the olive oil industry has been the most important industry in the province. The province lies in the northeast section of Andalusia and is just south of Castilla-La Mancha. The province is also the province with the largest area of protected natural spaces in Spain, such as the Cazorla Park.

A. Jaen City

The City of Jaen is rich in history and has many monuments, with its castle towering over the city. Today it is the capital of the Province of Jaen.

1. Jaen Cathedral (Jaen City)

The Jaen Cathedral is called the Assumption of the Virgin Cathedral and was built on the site where the mosque stood. The city was conquered by Fernando II, the Holy, in 1246. The present Cathedral was built in the late 15th century and sits on Santa Maria Square. It was designed by the architect who was a genius, Andres de Vandelvira, who designed many other monuments in the province of Jaen. The style of the church is Renaissance. The facade was designed by Eufrasio Lopez de Rojas, who also built the towers. The facade is completely symmetrical, which adds to its beauty. The designer of the Sagrario was Ventura Rodriguez.

The facade looks like a Baroque altarpiece because of its many columns and sculptures. There is a sculpture of Fernando III, who was the conqueror of Jaen. He is shown with his sword and an imperial globe in his hands. There are other sculptures of the evangelists and the fathers of the church, all having been made by the sculptor Pedro Roldan.

The main altar of the church sits by itself, quite a ways from the main altarpiece at the end of the church. The chapels on the sides of the church (there are 17) are beautiful because they have columns that are painted in pastel colors, to simulate marble. The tops of the columns have beautiful gold Corinthian decorations. The choir stalls date from the 16th and 17th centuries.

The main chapel has the Gothic image of the Virgen de la Antigua and the relic of the Holy Face of the Veil of Veronica. This is supposed to be one of the three cloths that Saint Veronica used to wipe the face of Christ. Juan de Aranda decorated the main chapel in the 17th century.

In the Chapter House there is the beautiful Altarpiece of San Pedro de Osma, which was done by the artist Pedro Machuca. There is a beautiful sculpture of Our Father Jesus of Nazareth, El Abuelo (Grandfather) in the Chapel of San Ferdinand.

In the lower floor there is a huge space devoid of supporting columns, that contains the art collection of the church. This collection has many important paintings and sacred art sculptures, that are quite impressive. There are paintings by Jose de Ribera and Valdes Leal. Truly, this church is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Spain.

2. The Castillo de Santa Catalina (Jaen City)

There is a mountain in the background of Jaen, and on top of it is the Castillo de Santa Catalina. There is a legend that under the foundations of the castle there is a tower that Hannibal ordered built, but there is no proof of that. The Romans came and built the fortress, which the Moors then added to. It was known to be an impregnable fortress. However Fernando III, the Holy, laid siege to the fortress in 1246 and conquered it after two months. The castle was named after Santa Catalina because it was on her feast day that the fortress fell into the hands of the Christians. Near the fortress is a huge cross to remember that Fernando III stuck a cross into the ground after his conquest of the fortress.

Today there is a parador on the grounds of the castle. The castle is nice to visit, but a stay in the parador will be inconvenient because the drive up the back of the mountain is too long on a very narrow and curvy road, and it is too far from downtown. What is very nice are the views of the city below, which are spectacular.

3. Jaen Provincial Museum (Jaen City)

The Jaen Museum is quite big and is a wonderful place to visit. First there is a fine arts museum that is very extensive and shows the history of painting and sculpture of Spain, with very famous artists represented. What is good is that each piece of art has a placard on the wall beside the work of art, explaining what the artist wanted to do, and when the work of art was done. This explanation educates the viewer and it is a shame that few museums have this information available to the visitor.

There is an archaeology section that covers the first settlers, the Romans, the Moors, and the Jews. There are beautiful floor mosaics of the Romans that are displayed on the walls like paintings. There is a special section of sculptures from Cerrillo Blanco and El Pajarillo. This Iberian art is one of the largest collections in Spain and many of the sculptures look quite modern.

There are more than 40 sculptures from Porcuna which show the influence of Greek art on Iberian culture during the 5th century B.C. They are made of stone and show hunting scenes, fighting scenes, eagles, lions, bulls, and sphinxes. They were all buried in 400 B.C. There is a collection of Christian remains from Martos, which consist of stone sarcophagi with sculptures of the New Testament. The archaeology section is very good because every exhibit has an explanation that educates the viewer. All in all this provincial museum is one of the best provincial museums in Spain.

4. Villardompardo Palace (Jaen City)

The Villardompardo Palace is located in the old Moorish quarter of the city, the Magdalena quarter, where the streets are very narrow, and it is difficult to find if one does not come from the direction of the Cathedral. The palace was built in 1592 and it sits on top of the largest Arab baths in Europe, which can be seen in the basement. The Arab baths are in very good condition and date from the 11th century. After the Christian conquest, all the Arab baths in the city were abandoned and not used, so most of them were lost to posterity. It was only in 1913 that the baths were discovered when work was done to extend the building. Restoration took place and in 1985 work was finished. The baths received the medal of honor from the European Europa Nostra Association.

The palace also has a very large Naive Museum, with works from the best Spanish artists who paint in this style. The Naive Museum is the first of its type in Spain. Many of these paintings are very beautiful and very enjoyable. The palace also houses a Museum of Popular Arts and Customs and shows costumes that the people of Jaen use. There is a large collection of furniture, ceramics, and farm tools displayed in this section.

5. The Church of San Ildefonso (Jaen City)

Not far from the Cathedral is the Church of San Ildefonso, a Gothic church built in 1248, that is venerated by the faithful because it has the Virgin of the Chapel, who is the patron saint of Jaen. It is said that on June 10, 1430, the Virgin descended from heaven and freed the city from a Moorish siege. The high altarpiece shows the descent of the Virgin to the city and it also contains the tomb of Andres de Vandelvira, the architectural genius.

The exterior of the church is like a fortress. There are two towers beside the facade. The main facade was done in the 18th century in the Neoclassic style by Ventura Rodriguez. This facade has four columns with a cornice supporting a triangular front. The lateral facade has a Renaissace style that dates from the 16th century and was designed by Andres de Vandelvira.

There are three naves in the church with pillars that support pointed arches. The style is late Gothic. The main altar is Baroque and was designed by Pedro Duque. The sacristy contains valuable objects of art.

6. Plaza de las Batallas (Jaen City)

The Plaza de las Batallas (Plaza of the Battles) has a statue of Victory on top of a tall column. The monument commemorates the battles of Las Navas de Tolosa and Bailen. The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa occurred in 1212 and was a turning point in the Christian reconquest of Spain when the Christian kings of Castille, Navarre, Aragon and Portugal defeated the Moors. In 1808 the Spanish defeated the Napoleonic Army which had been occupying Spain and showed that Napoleon could be defeated. These two battles were very important in the history of Spain because occupying armies were defeated decisively.

B. Ubeda

The city of Ubeda is a UNESCO World Heritage City because of its Renaissance architecture. Ubeda has a population of about 36,000 today and is the economic hub of the surrounding region. It was founded in prehistoric times and later was inhabited by the Romans and Visigoths, followed by the Moors. The Moors called it Ubbadat al-Arab and it was one of the most important cities in Al-Andalus, known for its ceramics industry. In 1233 King Fernando III (the Saint) conquered the city for the Christians. After the Christian Reconquest, many nobles lived in the city and they built many impressive Renaissance palaces and churches in the 16th century. Many of these buildings have the Castillian influence because Jaen is on the border of Castille.

1. Plaza Vazquez de Molina (Ubeda)

The most impressive square in Ubeda is the Plaza Vazquez de Molina, a huge square framed by impressive churches and palaces. This square is one of the most beautiful in Spain. At one end is the Cathedral, the Church of Santa Maria de los Reales Alcazares. This church was built on top of the Moorish mosque at the site. The style of the church is Gothic-Mudejar, and it was built in the 13th century, after the Christian conquest of the city. Later on it was reformed in the 16th century and the main entrance is in the Renaissance style. Currently the church is closed for reforms. This has been going on for the last 25 years and no one knows when the church will reopen.

2. Vazquez de Molina Palace (Ubeda)

Across from the Cathedral is the Vazquez de Molina Palace, also known as the Palace of Las Cadenas, which is now the city hall. The architect was Andres de Vandelvira, an architect who built many of the churches and palaces in the city. Nearby is a statue in his honor. The style of this palace is Renaissance and it was ordered built by Juan Vazquez de Molina, who was the secretary of state of King Felipe II and the nephew of Francisco de los Cobos. The palace was finished in 1568. Vazquez de Molina had no descendants, so he gave part of the palace to the Dominican nuns.

The facade has three horizontal floors and seven vertical parts. The first floor has Corinthian columns, the second has Ionic columns, and the third has caryatides and atlantes. The facade has a very symmetrical and beautiful look. The ground floor has windows, the second floor has seven balconies with pediments, and the third floor has portholes. There are two thin and graceful lanterns, one at each end of the roof. The design of the palace looks very Italian. The patio is huge and has one central fountain, and a double arcade with arches that have a Mudejar design and the marble columns have capitals that are Corinthian. The salons of the city hall are decorated with many important paintings, some by the artist from Ubeda by the name of Jose Tamayo. There is a painting of San Francisco by Blas Muñoz and a painting of Isabel II by Esquivel. There is also 16th century furniture. There is an important Historic Archive with very old documents and the coffered ceiling is impressive.

3. Palace of Dean Ortega (Ubeda)

 

The Palace del Dean Ortega was constructed by Francisco Ortega y Salido, who was the Dean of the Cathedral of Malaga and chaplain of the Holy Chapel of El Salvador. Unfortunately Ortega died before the building was completed. The building was constructed in the middle of the 16th century and the architect was Andres de Vandelvira. The building has a rectangular ground plan with a big central Renaissance patio that has graceful columns. The main door has Doric columns with a lintel and is crowned with the angels that carry the coat of arms of the founder. There are windows in the ground floor of the facade with triangular pediments over them. The windows on the second floor have curved pediments over them. The facade has a very symmetrical look that adds to its beauty. The patio has a mannerist style. The building has been a parador since 1930, with the name of Condestable Davalos Parador Nacional.

4. Holy Chapel of El Salvador (Ubeda)

The Holy Chapel of El Salvador was created by Andres de Vandelvira and is another Renaissance masterpiece. It is the most famous building in Ubeda and one of the best examples of Spanish Renaissance architecture, also the most ambitious private religious architecture of the Spanish Renaissance.

The building was ordered to be constructed by Francisco de los Cobos, who was the secretary of the Emperor Carlos V, and it was going to be used as a funeral chapel. The construction started in 1536 under the direction of Diego de Siloe. Later Andres de Vandelvira took over in 1540.

The elaborate façade was done by the French sculptor Esteban Jamete and is one of the richest in the Spanish Renaissance. It has an enormous decorative richness, and includes the family coat of arms of Francisco de los Cobos. There is also the coat of arms of his wife, Doña Maria de Mendoza, of the prominent Manrique family. The coat of arms are held up by warriors and women. The facade has Christian themes from the Old and New Testaments and also pagan themes. The structure of the facade is like a triumphal arch, with two small round towers, one one each side of the main door. The front is divided into two bodies and topped with a triangle. The first body has the monumental door with a semicircular arch. Above the arch the virtues are holding a board. There are double fluted columns on each side of the door. The second body of the facade has a relief of the Transfiguration of Christ between two sculptures of Saint Peter and Saint Andrew inside two openings. Above are three windows. The north facade was designed by Andres de Vandelvira.

The dome of the church is very impressive with its paintings. The altarpiece is called the Christ of the Transfiguration of Mount Tabor and is the work by Berruguete. The altar is impressive because it is all in gold leaf. What calls one’s attention is the large number of sculptures and paintings of angels, of all sizes.

There is a beautiful sacristy done by Vandelvira and Esteban Jamete, with beautiful sculptures and a very decorative ceiling. The sculptures include caryatides, atlantes, angels, and medallions with allegories. In the church is a beautiful copy of El Greco’s painting Holy Family and St. Anne, done in ceramic tile. Today the chapel is private property.

5. San Pablo Church (Ubeda)

In the square called Plaza 1 de Mayo is the Church of San Pablo, one of the oldest churches in Ubeda, built in the 14th century. It is Gothic Mudejar in style but has elements of the Romanesque original style. The big square has a beautiful statue of St. Paul. The church has three main fronts, a 16th century tower, and a Renaissance fountain. The church has a basilical ground plan with three naves. The original structure was Gothic, but one can find many different styles in the church.

The main facade opens to the plaza and was constructed in 1511. The design is Gothic Isabeline with pointed arches and decoration with vegetal motifs. The tympanum is decorated with the Coronation of the Virgin, surrounded by angels and presided by the Eternal Father. Below is the image of San Pablo. At the end of the 16th century, a gallery was built on top, with Renaissance designs and where church documents were read to the plaza below. This was called El Tabladillo.

There is a facade called the Portada de los Carpinteros that has late Romanesque architecture from the end of the 13th century. The archivolts of the door appear to be decorated with human heads and nails. There is a north facade that is Gothic and constructed in the 15th century. It has three arches. The tower is Plateresque and dates from the 16th century.

The interior of the church is late Gothic in style, with three naves and a polygonal design at the main altar. There are many side chapels that were constructed by noble families of the city to bury their dead. All of them have beautiful Renaissance grills. Among the beautiful chapels are the Capilla de la Encarnacion, Capilla de la Purisima Concepcion, Capilla de San Ildefonso, Capilla del Camarero Vago, and the Capilla de Las Mercedes.

6. Hospital de Santiago (Ubeda)

The Hospital de Santiago is the biggest Renaissance building in Ubeda and it was constructed by the architect Andres de Vandelvira. Since it is very big, it is considered as the Andalusian El Escorial. Diego de los Cobos was the Bishop of Jaen and he ran the hospital at the time of King Carlos V, Diego being the nephew of the king's Secretary of State, Francisco de los Cobos. The bishop is buried in the chapel. The building was started in 1562 and finished in 1575. The style is late Renaissance in the Mannerist style. The facade is quite plain and has four towers that are decorative. The facade has a relief of Santiago Matamoros because many of the embers of the family were part of the Military Order of Santiago. The main door has the inscription of "Maria concebida sin pecado", which means "Mary conceived without sin".

There is a large square patio in the middle of the building and two other lateral patios, which are rectangular in form. One of the lateral patios has an impressive staircase that goes to the first floor, with a marble banister and a dome filled with beautiful frescoes. The chapel opens up to the large main patio. the central patio has a double arcade with marble Corinthian columns with Mudejar style. The staircase is monumental and the vault has frescos that show the Castilian kings, the fathers of the church, and female saints.

There is a very big and beautiful chapel inside the building. The altarpiece of the chapel is gilded and is a work of Blas Brito and Luis de Zayas. The vaults of the chapel are covered with paintings done in fresco. The sacristy is decorated with paintings showing the old gods and the fathers of the church, as well as the figure of Christ fallen and an Ecce Homo. The pre-sacristy has paintings of the four prophets in vivid colors.

The building was used as a hospital until 1975. Today the building has an exhibition space, an auditorium, library, dance school, and is the home of the Youth Orchestra of Andalusia, and is used for cultural purposes.

7. Palace of the Count of Guadiana (Ubeda)

The Palace of the Count of Guadiana was built by Lope de la Cueva y Guzman, who was the first Conde de Guadiana, since 1711. The building dates from the last decade of the 16th century and the tower was built between 1611 and 1615. The style of the building is Plateresque.

The most notable feature of the palace is its tower, considered one of the most beautiful towers in Spain. The tower has corner balconies with white marble columns and there are galleries on the third floor. The tower has four floors. On top of the second floor there is the coat of arms of the family. The second and third floors have a similar design, with a white marble Doric column at the corner. The palace was a statement of the importance of the owner.

8. Church of San Nicolas de Bari (Ubeda)

The Church of San Nicolas de Bari was constructed in the second half of the 14th century. The church has three naves and the main altar end of the church is in the shape of a polygon. This church is the best example of the Andalusian Gothic. The vaults are supported by thick pillars with capitals that have vegetal motifs. In 1496 the Bishop Luis Osorio added the Capilla (chapel) de la Purisima Conception. The sacristy was designed by Andres de Vandelvira in 1566.

The most impressive chapel is the Chapel of Dean Ortega. Fernando Ortega y Salido was the Dean of the Cathedral of Malaga and the head priest of the Holy Chapel of El Salvador. It was meant to be the burial place of his ancestors. The chapel was finished in 1537. The grill was made by Juan Alvarez de Molina and gilded and painted by Antonio de Aquilis. The altarpiece was made by Lorenzo Brogio. The entrance to the chapel was designed by Andres de Vandelvira. The design is Plateresque. There is a triumphal arch with Doric columns. There are praying figures of the fathers of Dean Ortega and mortuary motifs.

The main entrance facing south has concentric pointed arches. On top is the image of Saint Nicolas de Bari. The other entrance facing west was designed by Andres de Vandelvira. The design is that of a triumphal arch supported by columns. There is a tympanum with the figure of Saint Nicolas. There is a tympanum with the figure of the Eternal Father and the sculptor was Lorenzo Brogio.

9. Church of La Santísima Trinidad (Ubeda)

The Church of La Santisima Trinidad was finished in 1727 after several reconstructions. The church was one of the few Baroque churches built, since most of the other churches were from the Renaissance. The church reminds one of the Baroque churches of Madrid of the 17th century. The Order of Redentores Descalzos ordered the construction of the church and convent. The floor plan is rectangular and there are three naves. There are arches that are supported by Corinthian pilasters. There is an elegant cupola also. The vault and the cupola are decorated with plaster molds with vegetal motifs. The clocktower is impressive and has a square base, but the top is octagonal and has arches supported on pillars. The convent has two cloisters and the principal cloister is connected to the sacristy with a passage with Salomonic columns. The facade has two entrances and both are characterized with having moldings as decorations, while the rest of the facades are plain. The church and convent are now used as a school.

10. Casa de las Torres (Ubeda)

The Casa de las Torres (House of Towers) was constructed in 1520 for Andres Davalos, Knight Commander of the Order of Saint James and Governor of Ubeda. It has one of the most beautiful Plateresque facades of any building in Andalusia and was also the first urban palace constructed in Ubeda. The facade has the figures of savages holding in their hands the coat of arms of the Davalos Family. The square patio is an elegant Renaissance construction with arcades on both floors, with many slender columns that are very elegant and support arches. The upper gallery is decorated with sixteen medallions that have the figures of eleven men and five women.

The two towers that flank the entrance were a sign of prestige for the owner when they were constructed. The palace has been a National Monument since 1921. Today the palace is occupied by the School of Art. When the towers were constructed, Ubeda still had dangers for rich families because of insecurity, and the towers had a defensive mission also, besides being a sign of prestige.

11. Palace of Vela de los Cobos (Ubeda)

The Palace of Vela de los Cobos was constructed by Andres de Vandelvira in the middle of the 16th century for Francisco Vela de los Cobos, a councilman of Ubeda and Captain of Cavalry in the war against the Moriscos of Granada.

The facade has three floors. The main entrance has two Corinthian columns that are joined by a lintel. Above this is a small balcony with a large window on the second floor with Ionic columns on each side and a triangular pediment on top. On each side of the window is a warrior that holds the coat of arms of the owner of the palace. There are other balcony windows with pilasters or columns and pediments, and with wrought iron railings. The small balconies with windows became very popular in the second half of the 16th century and 17 century.

The corner balcony was used frequently in the Spanish Renaissance. It has a slender marble column. The third floor has an open gallery that is decorated with geometric figures in the pilasters, arches, and balconies. The palace was remodeled in the 19th century and has one of the best private collections of art in the city, with an important library and historic archives.

12. Palace of the Marques de la Rambla (Ubeda)

The Palace of the Marques de la Rambla was built for Francisco de Molina y Valencia, councilman of Ubeda and infantry captain in the war against the Moriscos of Granada. His wife belonged to the Cobos Family. He contracted with the stone cutters Juan Hernandez and his son Cristobal Hernandez to make the facade of the palace. He wanted something similar to the Palace of the Vela de los Cobos, which had the two savages on the facade.

The facade has two floors that are separated with fascia in the form of diamonds. The main door is framed by Corinthian columns connected with a lintel. There are windows with wrought iron screens. The second floor has balconies with windows, framed by Ionic pilasters and topped by triangular pediments. On the second floor above the main door there are two figures of savages that frame the balcony. The patio is elegant with two galleries, one on each floor.

13. San Pedro Church (Ubeda)

San Pedro Church is one of the oldest churches in Ubeda. It was reconstructed in the last third of the 14th century. In 1605 the facade was given the Renaissance style by Alonso de Barba, a disciple of Andres de Vandelvira, at the request of the Bishop of Jaen Sancho Davila.

The principal facade has two parts. The lower part has an arch with Corinthian columns at each side and pilasters. There are reliefs of two virtues, Faith and Charity. The second floor has Ionic columns and a space with the image of San Pedro. On each side is a large coat of arms of the bishop. The western facade has an arch, but was bricked in when the choir was constructed. This facade is very plain and has a Gothic design.

The bell tower is from the same time period as the principal facade and is quite simple in design, with a square cross section. The interior has been reconstructed several times and has one nave with a vault and side chapels which are mostly Gothic in design. The church has a great historical value because it shows a medieval church that the city tried to turn into a Renaissance church.

 

C. Baeza

Baeza is only 9 kilometers from Ubeda and is another fabulous Renaissance city. Today it has about 15,000 inhabitants. During Roman times it was called Beatia. Fernando III conquered it from the Moors in 1227. Andres de Vandelvira was the architect for many of its emblematic buildings. It is a World Heritage City.

1. Plaza del Populo (Baeza)

One of the most prominent plazas is the Plaza del Populo, considered the most beautiful plaza in the city. It is also called Leones Square because it has a central fountain surrounded by lion statues. The Fountain of the Lions was brought from the nearby Roman city of Castulo. There is a sculpture of a woman in the middle of the fountain that represents Imilce, the Iberian wife of Hannibal. There is also the Villalar Arch, which as constructed to remember the victory of Carlos V against the Comuneros in the Battle of Villalar in 1521. The Jaen Gate was constructed in 1526 to honor the visit of Carlos V. Beside the square is the Casa del Populo, a building done in the Plateresque style that is now used as the Tourism Office. This building was constructed between 1535 and 1540. Beside this building is the old slaughterhouse from the 16th century, with its large imperial coat of arms. This building is now used to house the archives of the city and has a museum.

2. Baeza Cathedral (Baeza)

The Baeza Cathedral was built on the site of the Moorish mosque, previously a Roman temple. The church is Renaissance in style, although large modifications were made in the 16th century by Andres de Vandelvira, and it is named the Cathedral of Santa Maria. The church was dedicated in 1593. It contains a Gothic rose window from the 14th century and a beautiful choir stall. There is a Gothic cloister and has three Mudejar chapels and one Gothic chapel. The church has a tower with a square ground plan on the northwest side, that was formerly the minaret of the Moorish mosque. On top of the base is an octagonal construction that is topped with the belfry.

The south wall has a 15th century Gothic door called the Perdon Door, and this leads to the cloister. It is said that convicts who escaped from the authorities and crossed this door would be freed. There are nine chapels in the naves and among them are the San Jose Chapel, a work of Vandelvira from the 16th century, and the Golden Chapel that was founded by the Cabrera Godoy family in the 16th century.

The main chapel has a Baroque altar that was sculpted in 1619 by Alonso Rosillo and later gilded with gold. The sacristy is from the 17th century. The choir grill was made by Bartolome in 1520. The jewel of the Cathedral is the Baeza Monstrance, from the 18th century. It is two meters high, Baroque in style, and made of silver, gold, and bronze. The silversmith Gaspar Nuño de Castro (from Antequera, Malaga) was the artist who made it, and it took him 14 years to finish the work. In front of the Cathedral is the Fountain of Santa Maria, built in 1564.

3. Old Baeza University (Baeza)

Across the Cathedral on Santa Maria Square is the San Felipe Neri Seminary. This former seminary is now the International University of Andalusia “Antonio Machado”. The building is from the end of the 16th century and it has an impressive patio. The seminary was founded by the priest Rodrigo Lopez, who was a relative of Pope Paul III. Later the noted author Antonio Machado gave classes when it was a university. This is one of the oldest universities in Spain.

4. Palace of Jabalquinto (Baeza)

The Palace of Jabalquinto is located in the Plaza de Santa Cruz and is the most impressive and beautiful palace of Baeza. It was ordered to be constructed in the 15th century by Juan Alonso de Benavides Manrique, who was the second cousin of King Ferdinand, the Catholic. Juan Guas was the architect. The palace is one of the best examples of the Spanish Gothic style, with an Isabeline facade. There are semicircular pillars with capitals that resemble stalactites. There are diamond like protruberances on the facade that play with light and shadow. On the top floor is a gallery with five arches that was added in the 16th century, and is of Renaissance style. There is an impressive Renaissance courtyard and a Baroque monumental staircase.

5. Town Hall (Baeza)

The Town Hall is in a building constructed in the 16th century, finished in 1523. It was supposed to be a prison, but later was used for other purposes and became the Town Hall in 1867. The façade is very impressive and is in the late Plateresque style, designed by Vandelvira. The second floor has four balconies with one arch and two lintel openings that are held by little marble columns. There are small rose windows above these. There are pilasters, friezes and arches that have decorative figures. There is a giant coat of arms of King Felipe II. The façade is highly decorative.

D. Other Regions of Jaen Province

1. Andujar - Andujar is about an hour’s drive from Bailen and its most famous monument is the Santuario de la Virgen de la Cabeza. This is a hermitage built on top of a mountain. There was a shepherd boy called Juan de Rivas, and he saw the Virgin Mary on Aug. 12, 1227. He was lame and she cured him. After he told the town about what happened, the town built the hermitage on the site where he saw the Virgin. The hermitage is now run by the Order of Trinitarians. They have a fiesta and pilgrimage on the last Sunday in April, but there are many people who visit the hermitage all year long to bring flowers and to pray to the Virgin.

Most of the road to the hermitage is a two lane narrow road that winds through the mountains and hills. Finally one gets to the hermitage. From the parking lot, one has to go up a steep hill and a walkway that is uneven and is paved with stones. It takes about 20 minutes to go up this steep hill. At the top sits the hermitage. The church does not call much attention. There is a very interesting museum beside it, with paintings and the history of this place. One can go to the camerin, where one sees the statue of the Virgin. Behind is a patio with another small statue of the Virgin, where people place flowers. Behind the hermitage is a place of memories, where people who have been cured by the Virgin leave their crutches and wheelchairs and other memories, and where people light candles to the Virgin. This is a very touching place to see.

 

2. Baños de la Encina

Near Bailen is the small town of Baños de la Encina. This town is famous for its Moorish castle, called Burgalimar, built by the Caliph of Cordoba Al-Hakam II in 968. This is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Europe. The Moors would paint their castles white to make them look stronger and more impressive. The white paint would make the castle stand out and would hide defects in the construction. The lookout points from the castle are terrific because the castle is built on the highest point of the hill.

Besides the castle there is a small church called San Mateo Church. This is a Gothic church with one nave. There is a beautiful cupola with the figures of the four evangelists. The façade of the church is in the mannerist style. The main altar was done by Palma Burgos. There is a beautiful sculpture of Christ riding a donkey that calls one’s attention. One of the side chapels has a beautiful statue of the Virgin de la Encina, the local patron saint of the town.

3. Cazorla - Cazorla is a town with a population of about 8000 people, set on a mountainside, with an elevation of 800 meters. One passes this town to go to the Natural Park of Cazorla, which is a very large and protected park, where there are many threatened species. The park is mostly a pine forest and is the source of the Guadalquivir River, the second longest river in Spain, and it goes to Seville.

The town of Cazorla had the name of Carcacena during the Roman times. It was an Iberian settlement before the Romans came and had one of the first bishoprics during the Christian time. When the Moors came, they made this town one of their strongholds and fortified it. In 1235 the Christians retook it during the Reconquest.

Of interest is the Church of San Jose, a small church with a beautiful main altar done in gold color. There is another small church called the Church of San Francisco that stands out because there are 8 huge murals that are copies of El Greco’s paintings. A local artist painted these and the paintings make this church very unique. There is also a Threatened Species Center which shows all the threatened species that occupy the park, and among them is the Iberian Lynx.

It takes an hour to go down the mountain to the valley below in the park. The drive down is a very curvy drive on a narrow road with spectacular views from a lookout point. One can see wildlife during the drive. There are restaurants on the valley floor. After that it takes a half hour drive to go to the Torre del Vinagre (Vinegar Tower), where there is an exhibition room showing a video of the park, and also a gift shop. Beside it is a botanical garden that is quite interesting. A guide explains all the trees and shrubs that are found in the park. There are shallow pools that have trout.