Friday, 18 December 2015

Iglesia de Santa Cruz, Baeza

The Iglesia de Santa Cruz (late 13th Century) is Romanic, the only one of its kind in Baeza to have remained reasonably intact. There’s beautiful architecture wherever you look in this square and it’s worth just standing and taking in your surroundings. Few old towns in the whole of Spain can claim to be as intact as in Baeza and the effect is magical as you seem to be transported back in time, not a block of flats in sight!

Iglesia de Santa Cruz, Baeza

Saturday, 12 December 2015

El Palacio de Jabalquinto

From the Antigua Universidad you’ll follow straight on down Calle Beato Ávila until we reach the Plaza de Santa Cruz, a gorgeous square where two of Baeza’s most prized monuments stand opposite each other. They’re highly unusual in style in the context of so much Renaissance architecture, as the Palacio de Jabalquinto is Gothic, although with an inevitable Renaissance touch in the shape of its patio. 

El Palacio de Jabalquinto

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Calle Romanones in Baeza

Once in the old town, I recommend taking Calle Romanones, and it’s here that the barrage of monuments really starts as the Antigua Universidad - old university - and the Iglesia de San Juan Evangelista (16th Century), which used to be the university chapel, both come into view. Outstanding examples of Baeza’s architectural riches, they’re just a taste of what’s to come.

Calle Romanones in Baeza

Monday, 9 November 2015

La Casa del Populo in Baeza

Continuing with our tour of Baeza, at a right angle to the Antiguas Carnicerías is the Casa del Pópulo (16th Century, Plateresque), also not to be sniffed at. It is now home to the local tourist office and is thus definitely worth a stop before continuing on our tour by entering the old town via some steps that lead up from the left-hand corner of the square.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Baeza Town Hall and the Antiguas Carnicerias, Baeza

In Baeza the sights begin with the Town Hall (Plateresque), a National Monument which is located down Calle Gaspar Becerra, a street off to the right of the Paseo de la Constitución. Making your way back to the afore-mentioned Paseo,  a left turn at the end of it will find you immediately in the Plaza del Pópulo. 

The most impressive building in the square is the Antiguas Carnicerías (16th century, although it was actually moved brick by brick from its original position in Calle Atarazanas in 1962/63), where the local law courts are now housed.

Antiguas Carnicerias in Baeza

Friday, 2 October 2015

Baeza, Spain

The old town in Baeza is far more compact than in Úbeda. However, before exploring it, ttere's a lovely short walk to be had from the Plaza de España, heading along the Paseo de la Constitución. The monuments will come later, but here’s a chance to sample life in an Andalusian town. This is really the nerve centre of Baeza society. Bars with terraces for a coffee abound under the archways, while the pedestrianised central area is where pensioners stroll and kids play. If you’re lucky, the bandstand might even be in use.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Accommodation in Ubeda and Baeza

Many aspects of finding suitable accommodation in Úbeda and Baeza are similar to elsewhere in Europe, although there are a couple of interesting options that benefit from some extra explanation, such as the fact that Spain possesses an excellent group of publicly owned hotels called Paradores, often set up in renovated period buildings, one of which is in Úbeda. Paradores aren’t cheap, but they offer a unique set of surroundings instead of anonymous modern hotels. 

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Tapas in Ubeda and Baeza

Úbeda and Baeza are renowned throughout Spain for the tapas that are served in their bars. This is because in much of Spain you have to pay if you want a tapa with your drink. However, in Úbeda and Baeza you get a tapa or aperitivo for free. They’re often famously large and you even make a light supper out of them. Bigger appetites can order extra dishes, called raciones, to share.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Olive oil from Ubeda and Baeza

The province of Jaén can justly claim to be one of the biggest producers of olive oil in the world. You only have to drive between Baeza, Úbeda and Cazorla to discover what I mean – mile after mile of rolling olive groves stretch out as far as the eye can see.

This oil from Jaén was traditionally sold in bulk to companies from other parts of Spain and the rest of Europe, but local businessmen are beginning to realize that they have an exceptional product on their hands if they start to bottle and market it themselves. Olive oil can be as complex as wine – numerous varieties (Picual is the most widespread one in this area) and styles exist, so it’s a question of marrying your personal taste to a product.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Parador in Ubeda again

Here's another photo of the Parador in Úbeda, this time from the square outside. Isn't it gorgeous?!

The Parador in Ubeda

Monday, 17 August 2015

La Colegiata de Santa María de los Reales Alcázares

When in the centre of Úbeda, crossing the Plaza Vázquez de Molina towards the Palacio de Juan Vázquez de Molina (16th Century, Renaissance), presently used as the Town Hall, you’ll also encounter the Colegiata de Santa María de los Reales Alcázares. As the building developed over six centuries (13th- 19th Century), so a whole host of styles are involved – from Gothic to Baroque, via Mudéjar and Renaissance.

La Colegiata de Santa maría de los Reales Alcázares

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Sacra Capilla Funeraria de el Salvador in Ubeda

Next door to the Parador in Ubeda is the Sacra Capilla Funeraria de el Salvador (16th Century). Bit of a mouthful, that one! It’s a privately-owned Renaissance funeral shire, the most impressive example of its kind in Spain and perhaps the most emblematic building in Úbeda.

Sacra Capilla Funeraria de el Salvador in Ubeda

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Parador in Ubeda

A couple of hundred yards away is the Plaza Vázquez de Molina, even bigger than the Plaza 1º de Mayo, and perhaps the most famous and photographed part of Úbeda. Wherever you look there are stunning buildings, such as the Palacio del Dean Ortega (16th Century, Renaissance), which houses the Parador, a wonderful place to stay if your budget reaches that far. If not, you can still just wander in to have a coffee in its central patio area, typical of Renaissance architecture in this part of Spain.

The Parador in Úbeda

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

San Pablo church in Úbeda

The Plaza 1º de Mayo is a large square, bigger than most in Úbeda’s old town, and the stand-out features here include the Iglesia de San Pablo (13th-16th Century, Gothic and Renaissance), the Old Town Hall (17th Century, Renaissance) and the Palacio de Torrente (16th Century, Plateresque), just round the corner in Calle Montiel, which is now used as an old people’s home. 

Here's a photo of San Pablo Church in Úbeda:

San Pablo church in Úbeda

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

El Parque Natural Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas

Out in the nearby countryside Úbeda and Baeza also offer the chance to visit an area of outstanding natural beauty – El Parque Natural Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas. Great views, decent walking, exceptional Mediterranean flora and fauna all abound amidst picture-book towns and villages such as Cazorla, Hornos and Segura de la Sierra.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Where are Ubeda and Baeza?

East of Córdoba, north of Granada and west of Almería, Úbeda and Baeza have jointly been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This is mainly thanks to the incredible depth and range of Renaissance architecture and monuments in their old towns. Úbeda is the bigger of the two, with its sights more spread out, while Baeza boasts a highly compact old town that scarcely seems to have been touched by modern hand.