Mysterious Jaén (Spain) - where Andalucía meets Castille

Mysterious Jaén (Spain) - where Andalucía meets Castille

2 minutes to read

Hello there ladies and gentlemen! That's right, today I'm going to be telling you about Jaén, one of the least known regions of Andalucía when it comes to tourists and foreigners. Jaen is less than an hour's drive away from Granada and it is limited to the north by the Sierra of Despeñaperros (a mountain range), which separates Andalucía from Castilla La Mancha -the land of Don Quijote and Sancho. It has been a land of turmoil and distress through the years for geographical reasons that I'll explain in just a minute: the scenario of unforgettable battles that determined the fate of Spain and Europe as a whole, attracting the interest of uncountable historical figures, including not too long ago French statesman Charles de Gaulle - cover picture credits @ m-martinez

Representation of the "Battle of Bailén (1808) in Bailén, Jaén - Picture credits @ digicomphoto
Representation of the "Battle of Bailén (1808) in Bailén, Jaén - Picture credits @ digicomphoto

Why Jaén?

In Jaén you'll find a side to Spain and to Andalucía not much like the one we're used to. This peculiar region, which happens to be the greatest oil producer in the country, has everything we like about Spain: flamenco, tapas, friendly people, a warm atmosphere, with the particularity of being situated in a strategic geographical location that made it the frontier between the Islamic dynasty in Granada and the southward-pushing christian kingdom of Castille for over 250 years. 

City of Jaén seen from the air - Picture credits @ m-martinez
City of Jaén seen from the air - Picture credits @ m-martinez

The history

As you drive through Jaén you'll mostly find gentle slopes and fields filled with olive trees all the way until the horizon, yet the north of the region is very mountainous and fertile. Despeñaperros is a pass through those mountains and it leads to the northern region of Castilla-La-Mancha. Because of the strategic importance of Despeñaperros many decisive battles have taken place in Jaén, such as the Battle of the Navas de Tolosa (1212), according to the History Channel one of the greatest battles in history.

The capital

The capital city of the region is likewise called Jaén, and it's situated in one of the mountainous parts of its land. The Alcázar, an ancient Moorish citadel turned into a Parador, splendidly dominates the view of the whole city. French general Charles de Gaulle spent several months in the Alcázar (now called Santa Catalina castle) writing his mémoirs after his first visit to Jaén in the year 1970, in which the beauty and peacefulness of the place left him astounded.

Castillo de Santa Catalina
Castillo de Santa Catalina
C/Ramos Carrion, 38, 29016 Málaga, Spain
Catedral de Jaen
Catedral de Jaen
Plaza de Santa María, s/n, 23002 Jaén, Spain
Plaza de Toros Jaén
Plaza de Toros Jaén
Alda. Calvo Sotelo, 1, 23003 Jaén, Spain

Natural Beauty

Other than having a great variety of culturally rich and historical cities (such as Bailén, Úbeda, Baeza), Jaén is also a region with a great array of natural parks and landscapes to surprise even the most demanding naturalists out there. I'll soon dedicate a whole article on the Sierra de Cazorla (seen in the picture below) and several of the mentioned cities, so stay tuned for more about this wonderful Andalusian region, with loads for you to discover!

Bujaraiza (Jaén), Sierras de Cazorla - Picture credit @ m-martinez
Bujaraiza (Jaén), Sierras de Cazorla - Picture credit @ m-martinez

Here are also some of the resorts and hotels you could be going to when visiting the Sierra:

Casa rural sierra cazorla y segura
Casa rural sierra cazorla y segura
los anchos, 23700 Los Anchos, Andalucia, Spain
Hotel Spa Sierra de Cazorla
Hotel Spa Sierra de Cazorla
Carretera de la Sierra, Km 2, 23476 La Iruela, Spain

And some other mentioned places within the region that I'll soon be letting you know more about:

Historic city of Ubeda
Historic city of Ubeda
23400 Úbeda, Jaén, Spain
Catedral de Baeza
Catedral de Baeza
Calle Sacramento, 46, 23440 Baeza, Jaén, Spain

Mentioned places


The author

Antonio Nogueras Malpesa

Antonio Nogueras Malpesa

Hello, I am Antonio from Seville. I moved to Brussels a few years ago but I have always come back to Andalucía and the rest of Spain, more and more astounded each time by its mysterious beauty.

Stories you might also like


Responses

About cookies

We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.