Jaén, one of the best examples of the jewish legacy in the Iberian peninsula, dominated by the imposing Arab fortress of the Castillo de Santa Catalina. This is the province of castles and memories of unforgettable battles, of a noble and a warrior. A perfect excursion.
In the Natural Park of Despeñaperros, the remains of the castle of Castro Ferral, in Santa Elena, start a route through the past of Spain. In the fields of the same locality on July 16, 1212 a Christian Allied army, formed in large part by the Castilian, Aragonese, Navarre and Portuguese troops, defeated the Almohad Caliph Muhammad an-Nasir in “The Battle of Navas de Tolosa”. It is the beginning of the review offered by the province of Jaén to the history of Spain. You can visit the castle of Navas de Tolosa and follow the route of Giribaile, in Vilches, municipality that has its own castle for the enjoyment of the traveler.
Along the way, emerge Linares, where is the castle of Santa and Tobaruela, which reflects the last power of some lineages noble at the time. The castle of Baños de la Encina precedes one of the battlefields where the Spanish armies reached greater glory: Bailén. July 19, 1808, during the War of Independence. The story, converted into legend, tells that 21,000 soldiers of Napoleon, under the command of the Dupont general, succumbed to the Spanish troops led by the general Castaños.
From Andújar to Arjona
Castillo del troubadour Macías, one of the main attractions of Arjonilla.
The journey continues until reaching the medieval walls of Andújar and continues to the castle of Troubadour Macías, Arjonilla, and the cistern of Muslim tradition of the castle of Arjona. Places from which it is passed to a piece of history of the Military Order of Calatrava in the castle of Lopera. The ramparts and Torre de Boabdil in Porcuna review one of the most beautiful defensive constructions in Andalusia. The road continues to Torredelcampo and from there to Jaén capital, where it awaits the castle of Santa Catalina and the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin, inaugurated in 1556.
Castillo de Santa Catalina, Jaén
The province discovers the tower of the Homenaje de Torredonjimeno or the castles of the Villa and of the Peña in Martos. Both anteroom of the Audee, where the order of Calatrava left imprint of Power. The route ends in the fortress of the Mota de Alcalá la Real, one of the most complex defensive systems of Al-Andalus.
But Jaén not only offers history. The legends are anchored in beautiful landscapes. It is worth visiting Úbeda and Baeza, declared a World Heritage site. They both keep the spell of five hundred years ago. Surrounded by olive groves, and with the Guadalquivir at their feet, they represent in their architecture the civil power-Úbeda-and the religious power-Baeza-.
Castillo de Alcaudete, Jaén
The largest concentration of castles is located in the province of Jaén, and in fact it is considered, together with Syria and Palestine, the location with the highest number of towers, watchtowers, fortresses and castles per square kilometer due to its strategic location in the Different battles between Muslims and Christians in their conquest of Al-Andalus. In particular, 237 fortifications are counted (between castles, 97; towers, watchtowers and bunkers, 126, and other walls and Castros). Only the above mentioned area of what today would be Syria and Palestine surpasses the province of Jaén in the number of these majestic constructions.