JAEN is the gateway to ANDALUSIA with the source of the Guadalquivir river in the heart of the Sierra de Cazorla, Segura & Las Vilas. In the Northern part of the Province the mountains of DESPENAPERROS rise and extend West towards the SIERRA MORENA, and in the South the SIERRA MAGINA bordering GRANADA Province.
Cabra de Santo Cristo is in the eastern SIERRA MAGINA and faces the Sierra de Cazorla and Lower Guadiana River, in an area of barren and eroded lands that form unique natural areas in the province. The area is a mixture of farmland woodland and pasture.
On the last Sunday of May the village holds a pilgrimage in honour of the Virgin de Immaculada and the locals spend a very happy day celebrating. On the eve of the feast of SAN ANTON fires are lit in the streets and central squares and for the feast of Saint the villagers honour the saint with a procession. For CORPUS CHRISTI the streets are coasted with floral carpets and balconies are decorated with embroidered silk shawls.
The climate in Spring and Autumn is mild, the Summer's hot, especially in the South, and the Winters in the mountains can be harsh.
SILES borders the province of ALBACETE. Much of the municipality is located within the Natural Park of SIERRA DE CAZORLA, SEGURA Y LAS VILLAS. It is mainly a forest town near the river, the economy is based on olive and tourism, harvesting and sheep farming. The charm of the area is plentiful natural spaces with diverse flora and fauna. The charming mountain top town of SEGURA DE LAS SIERRA is 29 km. Siles is one of the main entrances to the Sierra in the province of Albacete.
The Romans left their input and after 712 the Arabs, and then JAEN got the name GEEN (way of caravan) or XAUEN (sanctuary). 1212 saw the battle of Las Navas de Tolsa and marked the beginning of Muslim domination of AL-ANDALUS, the Arabic name for Islamic Spain. The Christian Reconquest, specifically significant in UBEDA and BAEZA, embraced a good portion of nobility and clergy during the 15th century. The RENAISSANCE brought the period of monuments and artistic splendor, and the cities of ALCALA DE REAL and ANDUJAR became important as transport junctions. In the 18th century the Monarch Carlos II established so-called "New Towns" of the SIERRA MORENA headed by LA CAROLINA. At the onset of the 19th century the Peninsular War, called War of Independence in Spain, and the battle of Bailen in 1808 was the first defeat ever suffered by Napoleon's troops in the field.
Today the economy of the Province of JAEN is based on agricultural around olives and olive oil, and the interior on tourism.
The craggy heights of Santa Catalina castle, a former Arab stronghold, looms over the city and at the foot of the castle lies OLD TOWN, where the narrow, rambling streets are full of Arab influence. To fully appreciate this beautiful city, start by walking at the PLAZA DE LA MAGDALENA, where the church of the same name can be found, and has an especially lovely courtyard evoking its Moorish heritage. Continue on to Calle Santo Domingo where you will find the PALACIO DE VILLARDOMPARDO, where, underneath, are remains of Arab baths, unique in Spain for their design and preservation. In the PLAZA DE SANTA MARIA the Cathedral dominates the square, and also the Town Hall and Bishops Palace can be found here. The Cathedral is a RENAISSANCE jewel built between 15th - 17th century and has many notable features. Behind the Cathedral, Calle Bernabe Soriano leads to one of the oldest temples in the capital, the church of San Ildefonso. There is so much to see in this beautiful, fascinating city that one day is not enough, you will simply have to stay awhile!
Try and find time to visit the region known as LA LOMA where the cities of UBEDA and BAEZA have been declared historic-artistic complexes, and if you have time take a trip to LA CAROLINA in the North of the Province, founded in 1767 by order of King Carlos III to colonize an under populated region.
The town of ARQUILLOS has fewer than two thousand inhabitants and is the gateway to the rural area of El Condado to the north of Jaen. Its historical roots can be traced back to 1245 when it is mentioned in documents sent by Alfonso X in which he hands the town to Baeza for protection and defense. One of the most beautiful buildings in the town is the Church of the Immaculate Conception built in 1769 and is a typical religious building of the era. The town also boasts a clock tower standing in a pretty square and in the 18th century the time was marked by the church bells.
A short detour takes you to BANOS DE LA ENCINA, a Medieval town with a 1000 year old castle, and ANDUJAR with its interesting monuments and palaces. The river Guadalquivir passes through the town and a Roman bridge with 15 arches spans the river. A short detour takes you to the villages of HORNOS DE SEGURA and SEGURA DE LA SIERRA, both crowned by Moorish castles and CHICLANA DE SEGURA is a picturesque hamlet perched on a hill with houses tunneled into the rock.
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