Baeza, Spain

Baeza[n. 1] (Spanish pronunciation: [baˈeθa]) is a city and municipality of Spain belonging to the province of Jaén, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. It is part of the comarca of La Loma.

The roofs of Baeza from church tower
Coat of arms
Coordinates: 37°59′N 3°28′W
Autonomous communityAndalusia
  MayorLola Marín Torres (PSOE)
  Total194.3 km2 (75.0 sq mi)
769 m (2,523 ft)
  Density82/km2 (210/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
WebsiteOfficial website
Part ofRenaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza
CriteriaCultural: (ii), (iv)
Inscription2003 (27th Session)
Area4.8 ha (12 acres)
Buffer zone176 ha (430 acres)

It is now principally famed for having some of the best-preserved examples of Italian Renaissance architecture in Spain. Along with neighbouring Úbeda, it was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 2003. The former Visigothic bishopric of Baeza remains a Latin Catholic titular see.


The town lies perched on a cliff in the range (the Loma de Úbeda) separating the Guadalquivir River to its south from the Guadalimar to its north.[3]


The town stands at a high elevation about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the right bank of the Guadalquivir[4] in the Loma de Úbeda.[2] Under the Romans, the town was known as 'Beatia'.[4] Following its conquest by the Visigoths, Beatia was the seat of a bishopric of Baeza (viz.). From the beginning of the VII century it was conquered by several Arab and berber states during the Al-Andalus period, being named Bayyasa.

The Christian diocese was reestablished in 1127 or 1147[citation needed] following the town's conquest by Alfonso VII of Castile, but it was then again reconquered by the Almohads. After the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, Ferdinand III of Castile in 1227 retook the city and gave it the Fuero de Cuenca, a legislative body, to facilitate the new castilian order and institutions.

For the rest of the middle ages, Baeza remained together with Jaén, Úbeda and Andújar among the dominant cities in the Kingdom of Jaén, although the 1248 conquest of Jaén tended to favour the fortunes of that city, that enjoyed a strategic location vis-à-vis the Kingdom of Granada.[5]

The most important crops were those of cereal,[6] complemented by the likes of grapevines, olive, and almond.[7] Olive crops, far from the current-day olive monoculture, suffered from the mid-15th century onward due to the cultivation of sumac.[6]

The diocese of Baeza was merged with Jaén in 1248[2] or 1249,[citation needed] but was later nominally restored as a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church.[8] With it, a University was founded as well, which shaped the cultural personality of the city over the following centuries. Also, two powerful families, Benavides and Carvajales, competed for power and determined the historical evolution of the city, which required the intervention of Isabel I of Castile at the end of the fifteenth century.

By the early 16th century, the jurisdiction of Baeza extended beyond the city proper to the hamlets of Begíjar, Lupión, Ibros, Rus, Vílchez, Bailén, Baños, Linares and Castro.[7]

The sixteenth century was the golden era of Baeza (and nearby Úbeda). It grew rich from several industries, notably textiles, and the noble families, which were well connected with the Spanish Imperial state. They hired major architects of the era (including Andrés de Vandelvira)[citation needed] to design the present cathedral, churches, public buildings, and private palaces in the then-fashionable Italian style. The town's university building dates to 1533.[4] The city declined in importance in the seventeenth century, with the only remaining industry consisting of local production of grain and olive oil. As few newer structures were built during this period, this had the effect of preserving the town's Renaissance legacy.[citation needed] The university closed for a time before being reopened by the nineteenth century[4] as a seminary. In the 1870s, the population was around 11,000;[4] over the next few decades, the LinaresAlmeria railway was constructed nearby and town's population grew to 14,000 by 1900.[2]


Jabalquinto Palace

Baeza still houses several fine public buildings:

  • Natividad de Nuestra Señora Cathedral, presents an early Gothic and Plateresque pilasters and crossed vaults finished in the XVI century in a Renaissance style by renamed architect Andŕes de Vandelvira, and since 1584 by architect and mathematician Juan Bautista Villalpando. The tower was redone in 1549 and the Chapel of St Michael was added in 1560.
  • Town Hall (Ayuntamiento), a Plateresque building originally built as a combined courthouse and prison, leading to two separate main entrances
  • Baeza University, established in 1533[4] or 1538,[citation needed] now a secondary school
  • Santa Cruz Church, a Romanesque church with a two-aisle nave and semicircular apse. A side wall incorporates a Visigothic arch.
  • St Paul's Church, a Gothic church with a Renaissance portal with a two-aisle nave and Gothic chapels. Includes the tomb of Pablo de Olavide.
  • The Chapel of St Francis, in the ruins of a Renaissance building from 1538 formerly used as a monastery[2]
  • Jabalquinto Palace (Palacio de Jabalquinto), including an Gothic entrance flanked by two cylindrical pilasters with Plateresque capitals with mocárabes ornamentation, a Renaissance courtyard, and a Baroque staircase
  • Spain Plaza (Plaza de España)
  • Constitution Plaza (Plaza or Paseo de la Constitucíon), including a marble fountain decorated with Caryatides[4]
  • St Mary Fountain (1564)
  • The Fountain of the Lions, from the Ibero-Roman ruins of Cástulo and possibly representing Himilce, wife of the Carthaginian general Hannibal
  • The Úbeda Gate and Jaén[4] Gate.
  • The Villalar Arch (Arco de Villalar), erected for Charles V's 1526 visit to honor his 1521 victory at Villalar.
  • Seminary oratorio of St Philip Neri[4] (1660)


Baeza is 327 km (203 mi) south of Madrid by highway. The Linares–Baeza RENFE railway station is 15 km (9 mi) away to the southwest; it lies on the Linares-Almeria line. There are bus connections to Granada, Málaga, and Madrid. Granada (132 km or 82 mi) and Málaga (241 km or 150 mi) are the nearest international airports.

Notable locals

International relations

Baeza is twinned with:


See also


  1. Formerly also rendered as 'Baéza'[2] and 'Baeça'.
  1. Municipal Register of Spain 2018. National Statistics Institute.
  2. EB (1911).
  3. "Paisaje de Úbeda y Baeza" (PDF). Instituto Andaluz del Patrimonio Histórico. p. 5–6.
  4. EB (1878).
  5. Argente del Castillo & Rodríguez Molina 1987, p. 324.
  6. Argente del Castillo & Rodríguez Molina 1987, p. 328.
  7. Argente del Castillo & Rodríguez Molina 1987, p. 327.
  8. Annuario Pontificio (in Latin), 2013, p. 847
  9. Rodríguez Rebollo, Ángel. "Gaspar Becerra". Diccionario biográfico español (in Spanish). Real Academia de la Historia. Archived from the original on 28 September 2019. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  10. "Baeza homenajea a San Juan de Ávila". Diócesis de Jaén (in Spanish). 14 May 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  11. "San Juan de Ávila, más de cerca en Baeza". Diario Jaén (in Spanish). 18 July 2019. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  12. Chicharro Chamorro, Dámaso (June 2018). "De nuevo sobre san Juan de la Cruz en Baeza: entre el colegio de san Basilio y la universidad ("El nido de los conversos)" (PDF). Boletín. Instituto de Estudios Giennenses (in Spanish): 353–383. ISSN 0561-3590. Retrieved 29 September 2019 via Dialnet.
  13. Pozo Ruiz, Alfonso. "Pablo de Olavide y Jáuregui (Lima 1725-Baeza 1803)". Universidad de Sevilla (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  14. "Pablo de Olavide y Jáuregui". Universidad Pablo de Olavide (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  15. La Dépêche Du Midi. "Carcassonne se trouve une jumelle" (in French). Retrieved June 26, 2012.

Sources and external links