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Úbeda (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈuβeða]; from Arabic Ubbada al-`Arab and this from Iberian Ibiut) is a town in the province of Jaén in Spain's autonomous community of Andalusia, with 34,733 (data 2017) inhabitants. Both this city and the neighbouring city of Baeza benefited from extensive patronage in the early 16th century resulting in the construction of a series of Renaissance style palaces and churches, which have been preserved ever since. In 2003, UNESCO declared the historic cores and monuments of these two towns a World Heritage Site.

Ubeda - antigua carcel.jpg
Flag of Úbeda
Coat of arms of Úbeda
Coat of arms
Úbeda is located in Spain
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 38°0′50.84″N 3°22′20.81″W / 38.0141222°N 3.3724472°W / 38.0141222; -3.3724472
Country Spain
Autonomous community Andalusia
ComarcaLa Loma de Úbeda
Judicial districtÚbeda
 • MayorAntonia Olivares Martínez (PSOE)
 • Total397.1 km2 (153.3 sq mi)
748 m (2,454 ft)
 • Total34,602
 • Density87/km2 (230/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Official language(s)Spanish
WebsiteOfficial website
Part ofRenaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza
CriteriaCultural: (ii)(iv)
Inscription2003 (27th Session)
Area4.2 ha (10 acres)
Buffer zone90.3 ha (223 acres)
El Salvador Chapel and Dean Ortega's Palace


Recent[when?] archaeological findings indicate a pre-Roman settlement at Úbeda, such as argaric and iberic remains. The capital of the iberic state was called Iltiraka and was located over the Guadalquivir river, 10 km south of the actual site of the town. Romans and later Visigoths occupied the site as a settlement. This area became an important city in the Muslim conquest of the Iberia. It was refounded by Abd ar-Rahman II (822–852), who called it Arab's Ubbada i.e. ´sأُبَّدَة الْعَرَب (Ubbadat-Al-Arab). It was included in the area of Jaén. In this period, its territory extended to more than 35,000 hectares.[citation needed]

During the Reconquista, in 1233, King Ferdinand III conquered the city to the Kingdom of Castile. After that, the Muslim, Christian and Jewish cultures coexisted for a long time.[citation needed]. From this period, it is known the story between a Christian Knight called Alvar Fañez and a Moorish woman, where Alvar Fañez did not fight against the Muslims because he spent the night with that woman. When he declared to the general where he had been, he said that he got lost in that hills. As a consequence, there is a Spanish idiom called "Andar o irse por los cerros de Úbeda/ Go or walk in the Ubeda hills" that means when someone does not want to give explanations in certain situations.

In the Christian period the possession of territories of Úbeda increased substantially, including the area from Torres de Acún (Granada) to Santisteban del Puerto, passing by cities like Albánchez de Úbeda, Huesa and Canena, and, in the middle of the 16th century it also included Cabra del Santo Cristo, Quesada or Torreperogil.[citation needed]

During the 14th and the 15th centuries, the differences between the local nobility and population impaired the growth of the town. In 1368, the city was damaged during the Castilian Civil War between Peter I of Castile and Henry II of Castile. This, combined with other circumstances, caused the worsening of the rivalry between the families de Trapera and de Aranda at first, and the families de la Cueva and de Molina after. This political instability was solved when the Catholic Monarchs ruled: they ordered the Alcázar, used by the nobility as a fortress, was destroyed.

Úbeda, on the border between Granada and Castile-La Mancha, was an important geographic buffer, and thus the population gained from the Castilian kings, a number of official privileges, such as the "Fuero de Cuenca", which organized the population formed by people from Castilla and from León, in order to face the problems that there could be in the borders. Through the "Fuero de Cuenca", a popular Council was formed, which developed a middle-class nobility, which made the high-ranking official hereditary.

The apogee of Ubeda was held in the Renaissance, due to local Francisco de los Cobos became Secretary of State for Emperor Charles V. Cobos married a member of the local noble family of House of Molina. The Mudéjar and Morisco population of the region provided relevant manpower for the agriculture and the handmade industry (pottery and esparto). Thus, the economy grew throughout these centuries and the population of Úbeda rose up to 18,000 inhabitants, more population than Madrid during the 16th century. At that time, the prosperous economy allowed the rich people to build the most important buildings that remain currently, such as Holy Chapel of the Saviour of the World and Vazquez de Molina Palace, today the Council Town, were designed by the architects Diego de Siloé, Berruguete, and Andrés de Vandelvira, among others. This thriving period ended because of the 17th crisis. The last years of the 18th century, the town started to recover its economy, with the help of the agriculture and handmade industries.

In the early 19th century the War of Independence (this war against Napoleon is often called the "Peninsular War" in English) produced huge economic losses again, and the city did not boost until the end of the 19th century, when several technical improvements were applied in agriculture an industry. Ideological discussions took place at the "casinos", places for informal discussions about several items.


The city is near the geographic centre of the province of Jaén, and it is the administrative seat of the surrounding Loma de Úbeda comarca. It is one of the region's most important settlements, boasting a regional hospital, university bachelor's degree in education college, distance-learning facilities, local government facilities, social security offices, and courts. According to the Caixa yearbook, it is the economic hub of a catchment area with a population of 200,000 inhabitants. Twenty-nine percent of employment is in the service sector. Other fractions of the population are employed in tourism, commerce, industry, and local government administration. The agricultural economy mainly works with olive cultivation and cattle ranching. Úbeda has become in one of the biggest olive oil's producers and packers of the Jaén province.

One of the main seasonal attractions of the town is the annual music and dance festival which is held in May and June including opera, jazz, flamenco, chamber music, symphony orchestra and dance. Just southeast of the town lies the nature park of Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y las Villas.

Main sightsEdit

Hospital de Santiago

The most outstanding feature of the city is the monumental Vázquez de Molina Square, surrounded with imposing Renaissance buildings such as the Palacio de las Cadenas (so named for the decorative chains which once hung from the façade) and the Basílica de Santa María de los Reales Alcázares. The Chapel of the Savior or Capilla del Salvador was constructed to house the tombs of local nobility. Both the interior and exterior are decorated; for example, the interior has elaborate metalwork screen by the ironworker Bartolomé de Jaen. The Hospital de Santiago, designed by Vandelvira in the late 16th century, with its square bell towers and graceful Renaissance courtyard, is now the home of the town's Conference Hall. Ubeda has a Parador hotel, housed in a 16th-century palace which was the residence of a high-ranking churchman of that period.

The town lends its name to a common idiom in Spanish, andar por los cerros de Úbeda (literally 'to walk around the hills of Úbeda'), meaning 'to go off at a tangent'.

The city possesses 48 monuments, and more of another hundred of buildings of interest, almost all of them of Renaissance style. Though to the romantic travelers of the 18th and 19th centuries it impressed more the Muslim flavor of its streets than this Renaissance brilliance. All this patrimony led Úbeda to being the second city of renowned Spain Historical – artistic Set, in the year 1955. In the year 1975 it received the appointment of the Council of Europe as Exemplary City of the Renaissance. Finally, in 2003 it was named a World Heritage Site, together with Baeza, by UNESCO. [2]

Basílica de Santa María de los Reales Alcázares

Sister citiesEdit



  1. ^ "Municipal Register of Spain 2018". National Statistics Institute. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  2. ^ UNESCO World Heritage List, "Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza", retrieved August 4, 2019
  3. ^ "El hermanamiento entre Chiclana y Úbeda cumple sus bodas de plata". Diario de Cádiz (in Spanish). Joly Digital. 9 August 2019. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  4. ^ Montes, Pablo (27 September 2017). "Lège- Cap-Ferret y Úbeda; ciudades turísticas opuestas y hermanadas". Cadena SER (in Spanish). Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  5. ^ Román Vílchez, Alberto (2 September 2014). "Una placa para la casa en la que nació Joaquín Sabina". Ideal (in Spanish). Vocento. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  6. ^ Páez de Castro, Juan; del Pino González, Eduardo; García Pinilla, Ignacio J. (30 October 2017). Poesía latina: de Juan Páez de Castro. Ediciones de la Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha. p. 173. ISBN 9788490442531.
  7. ^ Mateo Pérez, Manuel (12 June 2013). "La Úbeda de Muñoz Molina". El Mundo (in Spanish). Unidad Editorial Información General, S.L.U. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  8. ^ Brenes, María Amelia (14 December 2013). "La noche más oscura de San Juan". El Mundo (in Spanish). Unidad Editorial Información General S.L.U. Retrieved 26 October 2019.

External linksEdit