Baeza, along with Úbeda are in my opinion two impressive ancient cities full of monuments and charming corners. They are also very close to Jaén, so they are the perfect plan to enjoy a day immersed in culture and history. In this post I tell you what to see in Baeza and also, offer useful information to help you plan your visit.
How to get to Baeza by public transport
Keep in mind that Baeza is located just 48 kilometers from Jaén, and well-connected by bus. Alsa company offers several daily departures with a length of about 45 minutes.
The center is located within walking distance of the bus station once you reach your destination. It’s on Alcalde Puche Pardo street and in a short walk of 10 minutes you reach the old town.
Here is your chance to take a free tour of the city where you will learn about its history and also experience a guided tour without missing out on anything.
I visited one city per day, but it is also possible to visit Úbeda and Baeza on the same day and in this case a guided tour might be suitable for you.
Where to eat in Baeza
In fact, the city has plenty of restaurants and bars, but I’m going to recommend the ones I tried during the hours I stayed there.
In the Plaza de la Constitución, Taberna Xavi, with an open terrace. Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine with vegan options. In my case, I tried the squid and the ochío (typical local bread roll made with extra olive oil and aniseed). I thought they were delicious.
For some wine, the Café Enoteca Aliatares in Plaza España, 1 is an excellent option.
Another restaurant with a terrace where you can eat out well is La Clave Music Bar, located in front of the bus station. I found the decoration very cute, in my case I only ordered dessert, an exquisite carrot cake.
Baeza’s brief history
As in Úbeda, you should note that since the Bronze Age, several civilizations that left their footprint: Romans, the Visigoths, Jews and Arabs, among others has inhabited Baeza. Therefore, to this day, it preserves a relevant monumental heritage in which these cultures and artistic styles are represented.
In the Visigothic Hispania, the Muslims called the city Bayyasa. During this period, Arabs, Hispano-Goths, Muladis and Mozarabs coexisted in the territory. The reconquest took place with Ferdinand III the Saint in 1227.
Some more data: During the sixteenth century is when Baeza reaches its maximum splendor both economically and socially, and the construction of monumental buildings is enhanced. The nobility became stronger and the power of the Church was established.
The most important nobles of the time belonged to the rival Benavides and Carvajales families.
As for the prominent architects, the following stand out: Siloé, Andrés de Vandelvira and Berruguete.
Baeza What to see
Plaza del Populo
Without further ado, we begin our visit to Baeza in the Plaza del Populo or Plaza de los Leones, where we find the courthouse, the fountain with the Lions, the tourist office, the arch of Villalar and the Puerta de Jaén.
FUENTE DE LOS LEONES
In this square stands out the fountain of the lions, considered the oldest monument in the city, since the sculptures composing it dates from the fourth century BC.
These pieces were originally found in the archaeological site of the Ibero-Roman city of Castulo. And it was in the 16th century when they arrived in Baeza.
The statues represent actually 2 horses and 2 lions, although at first sight they may look like 4 lions. In fact, of the equestrian sculptures, only the folded paws remain.
On the other hand, the name of the Pópulo is because in this square there was a chapel dedicated to the virgin of the Pópulo. As a curious fact, from the balcony in the square, Ferdinand III the Saint officiated the first mass after the reconquest.
Next to the balcony are the arch of Villalar and the Puerta de Jaén, once integrated into the old wall. The arch of Villalar was built to celebrate the triumph of Charles V over the “comuneros” in the battle of Villalar in 1521.
BUTCHER’S OLD BUILDING
Finally, we find the XVI century former Butcher’s building. Today is the headquarters of the courts and police station of Baeza.
From the imposing facade stands out above all the coat of arms of Charles I.
Originally, this building was located outside the walls, on the other side of the Jaén gate, but in 1964 the technical team of Fine Arts moved the entire building stone by stone to its current location.
Among the most representative architectural monuments to see in Baeza, the Cathedral is the most important. Built in Gothic style over the old mosque of the city in the 12th century, in the 16th century, it collapsed, although not completely, and Andres de Vandelvira was in charge of its reconstruction.
On the facade stands out the Puerta de la Luna, in a Gothic Mudejar style, and above it, the Gothic rose window and its three aisles.
As for its interior, the Golden Chapel and the Souls Chapel, the cloister, the Monstrance and the altarpiece in the main altar stand out. Beneath it, the remains of St. Peter Pascual, bishop and martyr, are found.
Pay attention to his history: During a Muslim raid, the prelate was captured and, after being beheaded in Jaén, there were arguments about where he should be buried (Jaén or Baeza). In order to decide the place, they put the mortal remains on top of a donkey at a crossroads, and the animal made its way to Baeza.
Another visit you can take is to the Cathedral Museum, with artistic works, paintings, relics, jewelry and altarpieces from various convents.
- Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, from 10 am to 2:30 pm and 4 to 7 pm. Sunday: 10 am to 2:30 pm and 4 to 5:30 pm.
- Entrance fee: 6 euros
ALLEYS AROUND THE CATHEDRAL
Picture yourself in a charming medieval city… This is what the evocative alleys next to the cathedral achieve. You are immediately taken back to a medieval city of Castile, and therefore they are within the essential to see and walk around.
In fact, you should know that several movies and series set in this period have been filmed on them, for example in the street Professor Juan Cruz Cruz “Alatriste” was shot. And among the TV series: “Curro Jiménez” or “La Princesa de Eboli”.
Paseo de las Murallas or Antonio Machado Viewpoint
As I mentioned before, in the Muslim period, the walls and the Alcazar were built to defend the city, but later, Isabel the Catholic ordered them to be destroyed. What remains today is the Walls Promenade, from where you can enjoy the breath-taking view of the olive groves that surround Baeza.
You should keep this in mind: in Jaén, over 60,000 million olive trees are registered, so it is not surprising the province ranks highly in oil production.
Santa Cruz Church
In the Plaza de Santa Cruz, in front of the Jabalquito Palace, there is a small basilica built in Romanesque style. As a curiosity, the church of Santa Cruz is one of the few examples of Romanesque art that you can find in Andalusia. In the north of Spain, Romanesque art is very common, however in the south it is not so much.
Another unmissable site to see in Baeza is the Palace of Jabalquito, with its Isabelline Gothic facade. It is currently the headquarters and the rectorate of the International University of Andalusia. In the latter half of the 15th century, Juan Alfonso de Benavides, a relative of King Ferdinand the Catholic, ordered the construction of the palace.
The magnificent facade stands out for its beautiful windows, diamond points, pineapple nails, ribbons and pinnacles decorations.
If you go inside, you see the interior is exquisite, with a Renaissance courtyard with double arches, marble columns and a baroque staircase.
Santa Maria Fountain
Located in front of the cathedral of Baeza, you find the square of Santa Maria and here, the fountain that bears the same name.
It is a spectacular Renaissance style fountain that has the original triumphal arch shape.
Architect Ginés Martinez built it in 1564 to celebrate the ending of the project to bring water to the city.
Casas Consistoriales Altas
The building is currently closed to the public, but between the 15th and 19th century it was the city council headquarters. It has also been used as a municipal archive and music conservatory.
Antonio Machado Classroom
Another interesting thing to see in Baeza is the classroom in which Antonio Machado taught his French grammar classes. The poet arrived in Baeza in 1912, after the death of his wife Leonor, and it’s said that he had a hard time adjusting to the city.
On the other hand, the school is kept in perfect condition, and it is possible to see how the classrooms were during the poet‘s time.
Up to now, the desks, books, letters and various documents have been preserved.
Paseo de la Constitución
When exploring Baeza, you‘ll come across the Paseo de la Constitución, a wide tree-lined avenue with terraces and an arcade square crowded with bars and traditional shops. This promenade housed the city market in the sixteenth century.
And not only that, along the avenue you will find a couple of interesting spots:
A Star Fountain, erected in memory of the triumph of the Revolution of 1868 that put an end to Isabel’s II reign and brought about the Constitution of 1869.
If you look at it, you will see the base decorated by four tritons, an obelisk with inscriptions rising above it and at the top, an illuminated cast iron star.
The Music bandstand built in 1951 by the municipal architect Ambrosio del Valle. Here, up to 60 performers can play.
Another historical place to see in Baeza is the Tower of the Aliatares, located on Obispo Narvaez Street. It is not only one of the oldest monuments of the town but also one of the most important, since from this fortified tower, the access gates to the city were controlled.
With a height of 25 meters, it displays the public clock of the city as well as its battlements, which are based on the Villalar Arch design.
San Francisco Convent and Market
Last but not least, if you have time, it is worth visiting the ruins of San Francisco’s convent. Because of its location, shared space between the XVII-XVII centuries with the old market and the hospital Church of the Immaculate Conception.
As a result of the Lisbon earthquake, many structures in the city were destroyed, including the monastery. Today, you can find the Abastos market in Lisbon.
Baeza What to see, my thoughts
Baeza may not have been on your travel radar… until now. If this is your case, I hope this post has inspired you to visit this historical city, at least for a day. Your senses will be captivated by its history, architecture, art, and culture. And of course, its exquisite cuisine won’t disappoint you either.
By the way, if you are looking for inspiration to explore other places, you can see other interesting getaways in this link.
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