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INTRODUCTION TO THE PROVINCE

INTRODUCTION TO PROVINCIA | INTRODUCTION TO JAÉN | INTRODUCTION TO ÚBEDA | INTRODUCTION TO BAEZA

There are not many provinces in Spain with such a quantity and variety of historical buildings like Jaen.

Jaen was a frontier between Christians and Moorish in the Middle Ages. Jaen still preserves traces from different cultures who settled in this area through the centuries. Pre-Romans ruins, Arab and Christian castles, palaces from the Renaissance and many more which are arquitectural treasures.

Jaen is the porvince of Spain which has more protected areas. There are four Natural Parks: Cazorla, Segura and Las villas, Despeñaperros, Andújar, Sierra Mágina as well as other Natural Reserves.

Jaen is the only place in the World which boasts two cities declared as World Heritage cities, these are Úbeda and Baeza.

The cultural life of this province is very important throughout the year. Some music and theatre festivals are held, amongst others The International Piano Contest "City of Jaen", The International Festival of Music and Dance of Ubeda, Ancient Music (Ubeda and Baeza) The International Theater Festival of Cazorla.

Food is one of the best attractions of this province, it is based in olive oil, there are four main olive growing areas, Sierra de Segura, Cazorla, Sierra Mágina, La Campiña. The variety and richness of our land with mountains, rivers and orchards provides our dishes with trout, game, partridge and typical dishes like pipìrrana, rin-ran or andrajos and sweets like papajotes and pestiños.

Jaen has been the birthplace of important figures from different artistic, political and religious fields such as Juan Martinez Montañés (sculpture), Rafael Zabaleta (painting), Andrés Segovia (music), Francisco de los Cobos, secretary of state of Carlos V (politics), San Pedro Poveda (religion), Juan Huarte de San Juan (medicine), among others.

Jaen still preserves an important arqueological and artistic heritage wich shows the rich history of this beautiful city, there are settlements from the Copper Age and the Pre-Roman settlement of "Puente Tablas".

The Moorish Times were a golden age for the city. From this period we find the biggest Arab Baths in the western world and the old Jewish Quarter which was the birth place of Hasday Ben-Shaprut, Prime Minister of Abderraman III and one of the most important characters of the Spanish Jewish culture.

Jaen took a very important role in the time of the Christian conquest in the south of the country, Jaen was the frontier between the Moorish Kingdom of Granada and the Christian kingdoms of the rest of Europe for 250 years. During the last years of the war the Catholic Kings lived in Jaen for a time and Cristopher Columbus came to ask for help for his American adventure.

Jaen also has beautiful Mudejar buildings from the last years of the Middle Ages.

The main building in the city, which is the Cathedral, was built during the Renaissance. Many cathedrals in South America in Potosi, Cuzco, Havana, Puebla de los Áneges, followed the design and style of Jaen´s Cathedral.

Nowadays Jaen is a small and welcoming city where walking through its streets and parks is a nice experience. It has a unique location surrounded by olive trees and mountains, but also Jaen is a modern and business city which offers a wide range of events.

Having tapas in typical bars, going to museums and visiting historical buildings or just enjoying the views from Saint Catherine Castle will be experiences that visitors will never forget.

Ubeda is situated in the centre of the province of Jaen. It is one of the most important cities in La Loma region which includes thirteen more cities. It has a strategic position between two rivers, the Guadalquivir and Guadalimar. It has had human settlements since prehistoric times. It was an important settlement with the Romans and with the Moorish which gave the city its present name. The city still has remains of the old walls and gates.

Ubeda, together with Baeza, was one of the first cities conquered by the Christians in Andalucía in the 13th century; they took a very important role in the War against the Moorish kingdom in Granada. For that reason many important families from Castilla and León settled in Baeza and they brought with them the Castilian atmosphere which the city still preserves.

After the Conquest of Granada and the discovery of America in 1492 people from Úbeda took important roles in the Church and the Government.

The 16th century was the golden age for the city, the Cobos Molina family was the most important one, one of its members, Francisco de los Cobos became the Secretary of State of the Emperor Charles 1st. This family developed the most important Renaissance buildings of the city; all these buildings were designed by the great Spanish architect Andrés de Vandelvira.

The city offers a rich heritage of different periods and styles. It is also very important the long tradition of pottery and forge.

It is also very important to highlight the period city's festivals, food, and its wide cultural offer, especially at Easter, which is regarded of National interest.

Baeza is situated in the centre of the province of Jaen. It is one of the most important cities in La Loma region which includes thirteen more cities.

It has a strategic position between two rivers, the Guadalquivir and Guadalimar. It has had human settlements since prehistoric times. It was an important settlement under Roman rule with the name of Biatia and under the Moorish dominion with the name of Al Bayyasi which is the origin of the present name Baeza. The city still has remains of the old walls and gates.

Baeza was the first city conquered by the Christians in Andalucía in the 13<sup>th</sup> century; it soon became the seat of the diocese and together with the neighbouring city of Úbeda took a very important role in the War against the Moorish in Granada. For that reason many important families from Castilla and León settled in Baeza and they brought with them the Castilian atmosphere which the city still preserves.

After the Conquest of Granada people from Baeza took important roles in the Church and the Government not only in Spain but also in South America. The rulers of the city then developed public buildings that are nowadays important examples of the 16th century arquitecture such as the old Court house, the Jail, the slaughterhouse.

The city offers a rich heritage of different periods but dominant are the Plateresque, Renaissance, Gothic and Late Romanesque.

It is also very important to highlight the period city's festivals, food, and its wide cultural offer, especially at Easter, which is regarded of National interest.