Ubeda and Baeza
The Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza hold the best-preserved examples of Italian Renaissance architecture in Spain. Both Andalusian towns developed a certain wealth in the 16th century and competed with each other in the design of Renaissance buildings.
In Úbeda, the aristocratic families where the driving forces. While in Baeza (8 kms away) the town council ordered fabulous public works. The Spanish architect Andrés de Vandelvira was responsible for the design of buildings in both towns.
Visit March 2008
A lot of thinking has gone into the acceptance of these two towns in the World Heritage List. The site was deferred twice, and not many beneficial terms could be found to recommend it: the historic city centres aren't special enough on the Spanish scale, the Renaissance areas are no match for those in Italy, the concept of 'twin towns' doesn't appeal to ICOMOS and the restorations lack quality. The final decision made by the World Heritage Committee applauds the introduction of Renaissance ideas to Spain.
Úbeda and Baeza are well signposted from the highway near Jaen. Both towns are very proud of their long sought after status as 'Patrimonio Mundial', and have various colourful roadside signs pointing that out. I started my visit in Baeza, an atmospheric little town despite the fume blowing factories in its outskirts. The Renaissance monuments are scattered around the city center, amidst many more recent buildings.
Úbeda is much bigger and sees a lot more traffic than its counterpart. It took some time before I could find the famous Vázquez de Molina Square. Many of the palaces here are designed by designed by Andrés de Vandelvira, whose statue also is located at this square. Many of the buildings are now in use for offical purposes or as a parador.
Although Úbeda and Baeza are worth a short visit, I would rank them at the bottom end of the World Heritage list. Best part of the day was the drive there from Granada, passing endless olive plantations.
More photos can be found in the Picture Gallery
|Klaus Freisinger (Austria):|
These 2 small towns in Andalusia are reputed to offer Spain's finest Renaissance architecture. Their WH inscription may be justified because of the influence they had on Latin American architecture, and because there are not that many Renaissance buildings in a country that is full of Gothic, Moorish and Baroque buildings. In Baeza, I visited the cathedral and walked some of the well-preserved old town streets. In nearby Ãbeda, most important sights are grouped around the VÃ¡zquez Molina Square. The most impressive for me was the Salvador Chapel, which features a really brilliant interior and altarpiece. All in all, I was not overly impressed with either town, although to be fair, it was pouring heavily and was very cold, which added a somewhat gloomy atmosphere. Also, being stuck between CÃ³rdoba and Granada, it is obviously hard for these towns to compete with either place, which are really world-class attractions. I also visited the massive cathedral in nearby JaÃ©n, which could be added to the site in the near future. It was quite impressive and should make a useful addition.
| Date posted: March 2013|
|John Booth (New Zealand):|
The main features of these two towns is that they are easily toured on foot, and there are frequent buses connecting them together, and to Linares-Baeza station.
In Baeza I visited the cathedral and the monumental buildings and fountains in the Plaza del Populo and the Plaza de la Constitucion.
In Ubeda I visited several palaces, the churches of Santa Maria and the Saviour of the World as well as the archbishop's prison, and these were just a sample of what was on offer.
| Date posted: March 2010|
|Adrian Lakomy (Slovakia):|
Both of these twin towns have interesting historic background so before visiting them it is helpful to learn a bit about them.
We visited this site in very hot summer day in 2007. As a warning please don't do the same mistake as we did. As during siesta the towns are completely empty, everything is closed and there are no people you can chat or ask. In later ours this is comming to improve so you slightly change your mind from "very boring" to "interesting".
Ubeda is the bigger town containing many of religious builings and palaces from Renaissance period. They act together in harmony. The most interesting place is Sacred chapel of the Savior of the world placed near the main square. In size small but inside is very nicely decorated.
Baeza is a smaller sister which i liked more - mainly because our evenings visit.
If you are travelling around visit this site, otherwise it is nothing really special why to travel here.
Pic: Sacred chapel from main square
Ubeda and Baeza are two of the most gorgeous cities I have ever been too. We spent hours just wandering the streets and trying to cram in a visit to every historic building open to the public.
What was best was that it wasn't full of tacky touristy-ness, we were two of only about 5 English speakers that we saw all day. Hooray.
All the staff in the museums/churches etc were very polite and helpful and patient enough to listen to my beginner level Spanish.
Just watch out for little old ladies who will be your best friend and offer to show you their houses - in an attempt to make you buy their wares or give them a few Euros for their troubles...
| Date posted: February 2006|
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