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Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of √öbeda and Baeza*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Santa María fountain and cathedral of Baeza
State Party  Spain
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iv
Reference 522
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2003  (27th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Baeza is a town of approximately 15,000 inhabitants in Andalusia, Spain, in the province of Jaén, perched on a cliff in the Loma de Baeza, a mountain range between the river Guadalquivir on the south and its tributary the Guadalimar on the north. The town has existed since Roman times, when it was called Beatia, but it is chiefly known today as having many of the best-preserved examples of Italian Renaissance architecture in Spain. UNESCO added Baeza and Úbeda to the World Heritage Sites list in 2003.

Santa Maria cathedral façade, designed by Andrés de Vandelvira.
Row of Renaissance palaces.

In the Middle Ages Baeza was a flourishing Moorish city, said to contain 50,000 inhabitants, but it fell to the forces of Ferdinand III of Castile in 1227. The Cordova and √öbeda gates, and the arch of Baeza, are among the remains of its Moorish fortifications.

In the 16th century, Baeza and nearby Úbeda grew rich from the production of textiles, and local nobles hired important architects, such as Andrés de Vandelvira, to design new palaces, churches and public squares in the fashionable Italian style. The economy collapsed in the 17th century, which had the fortunate side effect of preserving Baeza's Renaissance architectural legacy, because few newer structures were built. Baeza appears much more Italian than Spanish, with an unusual sense of lightness, order, and proportion.

Baeza's chief Renaissance structures are the university, established in 1538, which is now a summer school for the University of Granada, the Catedral de Santa Mar√≠a, the Palacio de Jabalquinto, and the squares of Plaza de Espa√Īa and the Paseo de la Constituc√≠on. All of these sites are located within walking distance of each other, in what is called the Zona Monumental.

Baeza is 327 km (203 miles) by highway south of Madrid. It has a RENFE rail station (Linares - Baeza) 9 miles southwest on the Linares-Almeria railway and bus transportation from Granada, M√°laga and Madrid. The nearest international airports are in Granada, 132 km (82 miles) south and M√°laga, 241 km (150 miles) to the southwest.

Notable Residents of Baeza

Baeza was the birthplace of the sculptor and painter Gaspar Becerra. Also, two of the most important mystics and writers of the sixteenth century resided in Baeza, Saint John of √Āvila and Saint John of the Cross. The modernist poet Antonio Machado worked as a teacher in Baeza from 1912 until 1919, and it is believed that his most notable prose work, Juan de Mairena, was inspired by his experience there.


Related links

Coordinates: 37¬į59‚Ä≤N 3¬į28‚Ä≤WÔĽŅ / ÔĽŅ37.983¬įN 3.467¬įWÔĽŅ / 37.983; -3.467

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BAEZA (anc. Beatia), a town of southern Spain, in the province of Jaen; in the Loma de Ubeda, a mountain range between the river Guadalquiver on the S. and its tributary the Guadalimar on the N. Pop. (1900) 14,379. Baeza has a station 3 m. S.W. on the Linares-Almeria railway. Its chief buildings are those of the university (founded in 1533, and replaced by a theological seminary), the cathedral and the Franciscan monastery. The Cordova and Ubeda gates, and the arch of Baeza, are among the remains of its old fortifications, which were of great strength. The town has little trade except in farm-produce; but its red dye, made from the native cochineal, was formerly celebrated. In the middle ages Baeza was a flourishing Moorish city, said to contain 50,000 inhabitants; but it was sacked in 1239 by Ferdinand III. of Castile, who in 1248 transferred its bishopric to Jaen. It was the birthplace of the sculptor and painter, Gaspar Becarra.


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