Úbeda Opens Up

Baeza and Úbeda are twin renaissance cities in the province of Jaen. Come July the famous patios open their doors…

One important feature of renaissance architecture in Spain are the renaissance palaces and their patios. Normally closed off to the public, this summer presents us with an important possibility of visiting the patios in Úbeda, a small but significant town in the South of Spain.

Ubeda has been on the World Heritage list since 1993. Each year the city celebrates this status by organizing a two-month long renaissance festival complete with theatrical performances, dances, concerts, conferences, markets and processions. This year – the tenth anniversary – the city has organized an event in the beginning of July where the many private and public palaces open their forbidding doors and gateways, showing off their cool and beautiful interiors complete with their sculptured embellishments of sandstone. In connection with the event, a jury will judge the patios and a prize will be presented to the most beautiful restored inner courtyard.


Baeza and Ubeda
The two small towns, Úbeda and Baeza, some 10 km from each other, are located in southern Spain between the regions of Castile and Andalusia, on the northern slopes of the valley of the Guadalquivir River, which after 1212 constituted the frontier between the Christian North and the Muslim South.

The towns have a long history dating back to Spanish prehistory. However, in the 8th century Moorish conquest the towns became fortresses. These quickly attracted fortified urban settlements with a characteristic layout of narrow irregular streets. Both cities were captured in the aftermath of the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. After the fall of Granada in 1492 both cities flourished and were rebuilt in the spirit of the renaissance. Chief architect was Vandelvira (1509 – 1575), who started out as a stone-mason. He was fortunate enough to acquire an important patron, Francisco de los Cobos y Molina (1477 – 1547), who ended up as secretary to the emperor Charles V. This position obliged him to accompany the king on his travels. In Italy, he discovered the renaissance and forged friendships with renowned artists like e. g. Tizian. Back home he inspired Vandelvira in his work.  Their most enduring legacy are the many renaissance buildings in the cities of Jaen, Baeza and Ùbeda. On a daily basis most of these are closed off to the public. However, now is a unique opportunity to visit the twin cities and enjoy a tour of these hidden gems.

wiki-FranciscoDeLosCobos-mabuseWhile you are at it, it is highly recommendable to book your stay at the local parador, the Palacio del Condestable Dávalos with one of the most beautiful inner courtyards in town.

This Parador is in a palace, named after Ruy Lopez de Davalos, a soldier who was taken by the Moors but after a period of captivity was allowed to return home. He was a member of the Court of Juan II who gave him the title of “Condestable” which translates as High Constable. Located between the church of El Salvador and the Palacio Vazquez de Molina and the Palacio de El Marques it opens up to the main square of the town and a tour of the very early Spanish Renaissance.

The 10th renaissance festival in Úbeda in Spain

The patios are open from 03.07.2013 – 06.07.2013 morning and afternoon. A separate pamphlet can be picked up at the Tourist office.











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