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Úbeda and Baeza: Renaissance art

  • General view of the Plaza del Pópulo square. Baeza © Turespaña

    General view of the Plaza del Pópulo square. Baeza © Turespaña

  
  


" Úbeda and Baeza are situated in the very heart of the province of Jaén, and are fine examples of all the grandeur of the Renaissance in Andalusia in the 16th and 17th centuries. ..."

Úbeda and Baeza are situated in the very heart of the province of Jaén, and are fine examples of all the grandeur of the Renaissance in Andalusia in the 16th and 17th centuries. They are unique examples of the arrival of Renaissance trends in Spain, as you will see from their streets packed with churches, palaces and stately houses.

Its monumental sites have the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. The town has a clear Italian influence, with its own features added before exporting them to Latin America in the colonial period. Andrés de Vandelvira, one of the most prestigious architects back then, left his art all over the region. Come and visit these Renaissance gems, nicknamed "queen" and "lady" by the brilliant poet Antonio Machado.

Úbeda: the queen

The beauty of Úbeda's townscape is sure to impress you. Green olive groves mark the edge of this historic town, giving way to façades of carved stone amidst whitewashed houses. Plaza de Vázquez de Molina square is home to Úbeda's most representative examples of Renaissance architecture. El Salvador Chapel, Santa María de los Reales Alcázares Church and Las Cadenas Palace will take you back in time to the most grandiose days of Úbeda's history. A spectacular ensemble, in a perfect state of conservation, where you can admire beautiful Plateresque façades, altarpieces by the great artist Alonso Berruguete and patios with double arched galleries on two levels.

This enchanting old part of the city is complemented by some of the masterpieces of the Andalusian Renaissance, such as the Marqués de Mancera Palace and Santiago Hospital, considered the "Andalusian El Escorial". Thus, Úbeda stands out especially because of the civil nature of its constructions.

Baeza: the lady

Baeza, which is nearby, is outstanding in the religious touch of its monuments and artistic wealth. This is a charming town with a marvellous Renaissance heritage, whose most valuable jewels are located around the markedly Plateresque Cathedral. Pyramidal studs, rosettes, bows and pinnacles show us a unique artistic trend in Europe. The Jabalquinto Palace and the San Felipe Neri Seminary will make you stop in your tracks with the beauty of their façades.

An interesting spot that should not be missed is the Plaza del Pópulo square, which includes the Pópulo House, the Leones Fountain and the old Slaughterhouse. Numerous palaces and stately houses will guide you around this town, the birthplace of nobles and aristocrats.

A paradise to awaken all your senses

The popularity of this region ("La Loma") with tourists has led to the creation of an excellent hotel infrastructure. Three- and four-star hotels compete in quality and comfort with the Úbeda Parador Hotel. This 16th century Renaissance palace (called Palacio del Condestable Dávalos), offers comfortable, cosy rooms and a restaurant specialising in Jaén's regional gastronomy. Olive oil with the designation of origin from the nearby Sierra Mágina Mountains, is a vital ingredient in casseroles and salads such as andrajos (stew with dumplings) and pipirrana (cold tomato dish), typical of Úbeda. Baeza's speciality is peppers stuffed with partridge and stewed kid with pine nuts. Confectionery includes ochíos (flour and anisette tarts), walnut tarts and preserves.

And if culture and gastronomy were not enough to satisfy all your desires, you'll also find the natural reserves of Despeñaperros, Sierra Mágina Mountains and Sierra de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas (the latter declared Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO) These are areas unequalled for discovering the varied Mediterranean ecosystems in Andalusia and for the practice of adventure sports and other activities. Environmentally-friendly sports that will bring you close to the most important landmarks in our countryside.

Úbeda and Baeza await you to partake of all their monumental wealth, the best delicacies of Mediterranean cooking and the omnipresent sea of olive trees. A unique destination, just over 300 kilometres from Madrid, where you'll be pampered by culture, nature, leisure and gastronomy. Have a good trip!

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