View of the countryside around Baeza. Jaén


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    World Heritage, a certification granted by UNESCO.

This town in the province of Jaen stands on a little promontory, dominating a landscape of olive trees, in the centre of the county of La Loma. Declared of historic and artistic importance, Baeza is home to an incredible legacy of Renaissance architecture;awarded the World Heritage designation by the UNESCO; where ornate carved stone mingles with traditional whitewashed houses. Set on the Andalusian Renaissance Route and the Nazarite Route, it is a wonderful place for touring the whole region and tasting its pure olive oil, focus of the Mediterranean diet.

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The Roman Vivatia and the Spanish-Moorish Bayyasa were very important in the Middle Ages because of their strategic position. Situated between Castile (Christian kingdoms) and Andalusia (occupied by the Moors), many battles and skirmishes on the border took place here. It was Ferdinand III the Saint who reconquered the town in 1227, and from that moment it became the spearhead of the attacks against the Kingdoms of Taifas, and it earned its name, "Royal Nest of Sparrowhawks". The town achieved its greatest splendour during the 16th and 17th centuries, when enormous Renaissance buildings were erected. The Cathedral In the Cathedral quarter you can find some of the town's most beautiful buildings. Built on the site of an old mosque, the current Renaissance ensemble of Santa María conserves Gothic elements, such as Puerta de la Luna door (13th century), and Mudejar elements, such as the pointed horseshoe arches in the chapels. This combination of styles can also be seen in the sturdy cloister. Attached to the cathedral we can find the Casas Consistoriales Altas, a municipal building, and opposite is the fountain of Santa María, which was commissioned during the reign of Philip II. Another monumental site that can be seen is the Jabalquinto Palace and San Felipe Neri Seminary, which currently houses the International University of Andalusia. The palace boasts exquisite Isabelline decor on the front, and in the cloister we can admire the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque period. Its assembly hall is worth visiting as it houses Romanesque capitals from the old church of San Juan. Another place that should not missed is the Old University. This 16th century building used to be a high school ("Instituto de Enseñanza") where the famous poet Antonio Machado taught French for many years. Before making a stop at the Pósito warehouse and La Alhóndiga, an old house where grain was bought and sold (17th century), you should visit the Church of Santa Cruz, as it is one of the most exceptional examples of Romanesque architecture that remains in Andalusia. Amid numerous ancestral homes and mansions you'll come across the Plaza del Pópulo square, where you can find the Casa del Pópulo house (Civil Courts and Public Notary Offices), Los Leones Fountain, the old Carnicería building, Puerta de Jaén gate and Villalar arch. It is one of the most charming spots in Baeza, and next to the noble buildings you can spot several sections of the old walls and the gate. In the Plaza de Cándido Elorza square there are also many historic monuments, both religious and civil. The Palaces of Elorza, Cerón and Condes de Garcíes, and the houses of the Cabrera and Acuña families prove that many noble and aristocratic families lived in Baeza in the 17th century. Nearby you can find the elegantly shaped Church of San Pablo. Jaén The province of Jaén is full of interesting historic towns and nature areas. As part of the Renaissance Route you can find Úbeda, which is also in the district of La Loma. In the nature reserves of Despeñaperros, Sierra de Andújar, and Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas there are many places to go hiking and to practise environmentally-friendly sports. Linares, Baños de la Encina and Andújar are towns that are worth visiting. The Route of the Caliphate and the Route of the Nasrids go through Jaén. Alcaudete, Martos, Porcuna and Alcalá la Real on one hand, and Mengíbar, Jodar and Jimena on the other, are important milestones on these routes. These places are full of good examples of the heritage of Al-Andalus. There are parador hotels in both Úbeda and Cazorla. A 13th century Moorish fortress, a 16th century Renaissance palace and a typical Andalusian farmhouse offer many rooms so you can find a place to rest on your journey. These are also excellent places to taste the Andalusian cuisine, where pure olive oil – Sierra de Segura and Sierra Mágina designations of origin from Jaén – is an essential ingredient. Peppers stuffed with partridge, bull's tail in red wine from La Loma and stewed kid with pine nuts are some of the traditional Andalusian dishes in this area. Cod is a typical dish in Baeza, where it is coated with flour, sautéed with onion and tomato, and served with pine nuts, sweet red pepper and peas. Traditional desserts in Baeza include walnut tarts, "ochíos" (typical buns that are eaten during Easter Week), and preserves.  


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