BAEZA – THE LADY lies perched on a cliff in the Loma de Úbeda, the range separating the Guadalquivir River to its south from the Guadalimar to its north.
It is now principally famed for having some of the best-preserved examples of Italian Renaissance architecture in Spain. BAEZA was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 2003.
Tiny, compact and provincial with a kind of perpetual Sunday air about it, the quiet streets retain a Medieval feeling.
At its heart is the combined PLAZA MAYOR and the PASEO, which is flanked by pavement cafes, but delightfully low key and atmospheric.
The PLAZA DE LEONES is a particularly attractive cobbled square enclosed by Renaissance buildings and stands slightly back at the far end. Here on a rounded balcony the first mass of the RECONQUEST is reputed to have been celebrated, the impressive mansion beneath it houses the tourist office.
In the centre of the square is the FOUNTAIN OF LOS LEONES, the statue of the woman above is said to be the wife of HANNIBALL.
The PLAZA DEL POPULO, formed by the Casa del Pópulo and the Fuente de los Leones fountain, should not be missed, nor the old abattoir. Many other palaces and ancestral homes will guide you through this town, birthplace of nobles and aristocrats.
The finest palace is the MARQUESSA DE JABALQUINTO, with an elaborate Isabelline front, beautiful patio and staircase. The building is no the site of the International University of Andalusia.
Just above is the 16th century CATHEDRAL, the novelty being a huge silver CUSTODIA cunningly hidden behind a painting of St Peter which whirls aside for a small donation.
Close by is a building where the great ANDALUSIAN poet ANTONIO MACHADO taught French. A plaque outside a corner house on Plaza Cardenal Benavides records where he lived.
BAEZA awaits to share her monumental wealth with you, the delicacies of Mediterranean fare and the sea of olive trees that permeates every space.
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