Church of San Pablo
Palace of Vázquez Medina
Church of San Pablo
Church of Santa María
Known as the capital of the Andalusian Renaissance, this city in the province of Jaén stands on a hill near the valley of the Alto Guadalquivir, in the county of La Loma. Its old town, declared a Historic-Artistic site, houses a splendid legacy of monuments made up of churches, palaces and aristocratic houses. Its historic Renaissance site has been awarded the World Heritage designation by the UNESCO.
The Moorish town of Ubbadat was founded in the 9th century and its walls were also erected at the same time. Thanks to its intense trade and craftwork it became one of the most important towns in Al-Andalus. After several failed attempts by the Christians to conquer the town, it was finally seized in 1234 by King Ferdinand III the Saint. The town became very important after the 15th and 16th centuries, as many aristocratic families decided to settle here. There are many palaces and houses with coats of arms from that period, and they make Úbeda an Andalusian Renaissance city par excellence. The city The Plaza Vázquez de Molina square stands out in the midst of the whitewashed houses, as there are many Renaissance buildings here. One of the best examples of Renaissance architecture can be found here – the Sacred Chapel of El Salvador (16th century). The church was designed by Diego de Siloé and built by Andrés de Vandelvira, supervised by Francisco de los Cobos, who was Emperor Charles I's secretary and right-hand man. Magnificent Plateresque doorways stand out on this building. Inside there is a main altarpiece by Alonso de Berruguete and grilles by the master Bartolomé. Next to the church you can find the Palace of Condestable Dávalos, which has been turned into a parador hotel. It was built in the 16th century and refurbished one hundred years later. The dean of the Sacred Chapel of El Salvador used to live there. Behind its stunning façade there is a beautiful courtyard with a double gallery with two rows of arches. The next building is the Palace of Juan Vázquez de Molina, also called the Las Cadenas Palace, which houses the Town Hall and was designed by Andrés de Vandelvira. Opposite its large marketplace, on one of the sides of the square, you can find the Basilica of Santa María de los Reales Alcázares, built upon an old Moorish mosque. In this building you can see how different styles have been overlaid harmoniously, as it was originally built in the 13th century in the Gothic style, and was remodelled centuries later. It has five naves, several chapels and a 16th century cloister. In this beautiful area you can also find the Palace of the Marquis of Mancera. This building used to belong to a viceroy from Peru and it was built in the purest Renaissance style. In the popular Plaza 1º de Mayo square, also know as Paseo Plaza del Mercado, you come across the Church of San Pablo, which is Gothic in style and in some of its elements we can see the transitional Romanesque style, like in the doorway. It houses the chapel of Los Vago, which is a magnificent Renaissance work of art built by Vandelvira. Opposite this church there is another Renaissance palace – the old Town Hall – and nearby, the Oratory of San Juan de la Cruz, who was a mystic from Ávila who died in Úbeda. On entering the town you see the Hospital de Santiago Conference and Exhibition Centre, considered the "Andalusian El Escorial". It is one of Vandelvira's most outstanding works. Behind the sober façade of this amazing building, which is currently an active cultural centre, there is a bright classicistic courtyard and a beautiful chapel. La Redonda de Miradores, behind Plaza Vázquez de Molina square, affords a beautiful panoramic view of Sierra Mágina mountains and the Guadalquivir River basin. Surrounding area Úbeda is part of the district of La Loma, the centre of the province of Jaén. The neighbouring town of Baeza, designated a Historic-Artistic Site, is also situated in this district. Together with Úbeda, Baeza possesses the most important Renaissance heritage in the province. It includes the cathedral, the Antonio Machado campus in the University, and many mansions and palaces. The Renaissance Route will take you to other towns such as Jaén, Mancha Real, Sabiote and Torreperogil. The Route of the Caliphate and the Route of the Nasrids go through Jaén. Alcaudete, Martos, Porcuna and Alcalá la Real on one hand, and Mengíbar, Jódar and Jimena on the other, are important milestones on these routes. These places are full of good examples of the heritage of Al-Andalus. This province is privileged because it has the largest protected area in Andalusia, with the Nature Reserves of Despeñaperros, Sierra de Andújar, Sierra Mágina and Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas. Here you'll find the typical Mediterranean mountain ecosystem. The Cazorla reserve is also a Biosphere Reserve, a National Game Preserve and a Special Protection Areas for Birds (SPA). Its rich natural landscape rivals its hunting, cultural and historic heritage in quality. As well as Úbeda, the city of Jaén and Cazorla also have parador hotels. A 13th century Moorish fortress and a typical Andalusian farmhouse offer many rooms so you can find a place to rest on your journey. The star ingredient in Úbeda's gastronomy is extra virgin olive oil. It is used in all the local dishes, such as "andrajos" (stew with potatoes and rabbit, hare or cod), "pipirrana" (a garden salad) and the delicious potted black pudding (sautéed black pudding that hasn't been stuffed). Confectionery includes "ochíos" (flour and aniseed buns), and "hornazos" (pastry made with boiled eggs).