Úbeda, Province of Jaén, Andalusia, Spain

History | Economy | Tourist Industry

🇪🇸 Úbeda is a town in the province of Jaén in Spain's autonomous community of Andalusia. 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. It is the fourth most populated municipality in the province.

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History Legend has it that Úbeda was established by Tubal, a descendant of Noah. The city's name is said to have originated from the mythical tower of King Ibiut.

Archaeological evidence indicates the earliest settlements in Úbeda going back to the Copper Age, and are situated in the oldest part of town known as Cerro del Alcázar. Recent archaeological investigations have revealed a history spanning six millennia; thus, Úbeda stands as the "oldest city, scientifically substantiated, in Western Europe". This assertion comes from the research team led by Professor Francisco Nocete, based on findings from 35 Carbon-14 datings conducted at the Las Eras del Alcázar site.

There are remnants from the Chalcolithic, Argaric, Oretanian, Visigothic, and Late Roman periods in the Alcázar. There was a sistering Iberian settlement nearby called Iltiraka, later incorporated into the Roman colony of Salaria and was known as Old Úbeda or Ubeda Vethula. Greeks arrived in Úbeda seeking trade, followed by the Carthaginians with imperialist aims, but both were defeated by the Romans after prolonged conflicts.

During the Roman Empire, following the Battle of Ilipa in 206 BCE, the ancient Iberian city-state underwent Romanization, becoming known as Betula. It became a hub for various scattered populations. In the Gothic era, the Vandals destroyed the region, leading the inhabitants to consolidate in what is now known as Bétula Nova, though the reasons for this are unclear.

The city regained significance with the arrival of the Arabs, notably under Abderramán II, who reestablished it as Ubbada or Ubbadat Al-Arab —Úbeda "of the Arabs"—, aiming to control the neighboring Mozarabs of Baeza. In the 11th century, it was contested among the taifa kingdoms of Almería, Granada, Toledo, and Seville until its eventual conquest by the Almoravids. As a Muslim city, it expanded its defensive walls and flourished as one of Al-Andalus' most important centres due to its thriving craftsmanship and trade. Thus, it became a prosperous and strategic stronghold.

During the year 1091, Úbeda was forcibly surrendered to Alfonso VI by the king of Toledo amidst internal rebellion among the Andalusian Moors. Throughout the 12th century, Castilian kings intensified pressure on the region, leading to Úbeda being mentioned in historical records primarily for its involvement in military conflicts. The city experienced significant devastation and changes of control, including a massacre by crusaders in the battle of 1212.

During the Reconquista, in 1233, King Ferdinand III took the city as a part of the Kingdom of Castile. The Úbeda's terretories 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.

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.

During the 16th century, these important Castilian aristocratic families from Úbeda reached top positions in the Spanish Monarchy administration. Notably, Francisco de los Cobos and his nephew Juan Vazquez de Molina became Secretary of State for Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Philip II respectively. The Viceroy of Peru Pedro de Toledo, the governor of the Canary Islands Juan de Rivera y Zambrana, the Marquis of Messia or the Count of Guadiana are other examples of nobiliary families living in Úbeda at the time. Due to the patronage of arts of these competing families, Úbeda became a Renaissance focus in Spain and from there Renaissance architecture spread to the Kingdom of Seville and America.

The 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.

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Economy 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 south-east of the town lies the nature park of Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y las Villas.

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Tourist Industry 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. Úbeda has a Parador hotel, the Parador de Úbeda, 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. 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.

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Europe/Madrid/Andalusia 
<b>Europe/Madrid/Andalusia</b>
Image: Adobe Stock Cezary Wojtkowski #203578568

Úbeda has a population of over 34,733 people. Úbeda also forms part of the wider La Loma de Úbeda comarca which has a population of over 77,162 people. Úbeda is situated 29 km south-east of Linares.

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Úbeda has links with:

🇪🇸 Chiclana de la Frontera, Spain 🇫🇷 Lège-Cap-Ferret, France

Úbeda is a member of the OWHC: Organization of World Heritage Cities with: 🇮🇱 Acre 🇳🇪 Agadez 🇮🇳 Ahmedabad 🇰🇿 Aktau 🇪🇸 Alcalá de Henares 🇸🇾 Aleppo 🇩🇿 Algiers 🇮🇳 Amber 🇮🇳 Amer 🇺🇸 Amsterdam 🇳🇱 Amsterdam 🇺🇸 Amsterdam 🇰🇷 Andong 🇵🇹 Angra do Heroísmo 🇱🇰 Anuradhapura 🇪🇸 Aranjuez 🇵🇪 Arequipa 🇩🇪 Augsburg 🇪🇸 Avila 🇪🇸 Baeza 🇮🇷 Bam 🇩🇪 Bamberg 🇸🇰 Banská Štiavnica 🇸🇰 Bardejov 🇬🇧 Bath 🇺🇸 Bath 🇳🇱 Beemster 🇧🇷 Belo Horizonte 🇹🇷 Bergama 🇳🇴 Bergen 🇳🇱 Bergen 🇺🇸 Berlin 🇩🇪 Berlin 🇺🇸 Berlin 🇺🇸 Berlin 🇨🇭 Bern 🇩🇪 Bernau bei Berlin 🇳🇵 Bhaktapur 🇷🇴 Biertan 🇰🇷 Boeun 🇷🇺 Bolgar 🇫🇷 Bordeaux 🇧🇷 Brasília 🇧🇧 Bridgetown 🇧🇪 Bruges 🇧🇪 Brussels 🇭🇺 Budapest 🇹🇷 Bursa 🇰🇷 Buyeo 🇪🇸 Cáceres 🇪🇬 Cairo 🇨🇺 Camaguey 🇲🇽 Campeche 🇫🇷 Carcassonne 🇨🇴 Cartagena 🇪🇸 Cartagena 🇨🇿 Český Krumlov 🇨🇳 Chengde 🇨🇻 Cidade Velha 🇵🇹 Coimbra 🇺🇾 Colonia del Sacramento 🇲🇽 Córdoba 🇦🇷 Córdoba 🇪🇸 Córdoba 🇻🇪 Coro 🇪🇸 Cuenca 🇪🇨 Cuenca 🇲🇽 Cuernavaca 🇵🇪 Cusco 🇸🇳 Dakar 🇸🇾 Damascus 🇮🇩 Denpasar 🇷🇺 Derbent 🇩🇪 Dessau 🇧🇷 Diamantina 🇹🇷 Diyarbakır 🇭🇷 Dubrovnik 🇨🇳 Dujiangyan 🇬🇧 Edinburgh 🇦🇲 Ejmiatsin 🇵🇹 Elvas 🇮🇶 Erbil 🇲🇦 Essaouira 🇵🇹 Évora 🇲🇦 Fez 🇫🇷 Fontainebleau 🇺🇾 Fray Bentos 🇱🇰 Galle 🇰🇾 George Town 🇲🇾 George Town 🇱🇾 Ghadames 🇩🇿 Ghardaïa 🇮🇩 Gianyar 🇰🇷 Gochang County 🇰🇷 Gongju 🇦🇲 Goris City 🇳🇮 Granada 🇪🇸 Granada 🇨🇮 Grand-Bassam 🇦🇹 Graz 🇪🇸 Guadalajara 🇲🇽 Guadalajara 🇲🇽 Guanajuato 🇵🇹 Guimarães 🇰🇷 Gwangju 🇰🇷 Gyeongju 🇰🇷 Haenam 🇩🇪 Hamburg 🇰🇷 Hapcheon County 🇪🇹 Harar Jugol 🇨🇺 Havana 🇻🇳 Hoi An 🇻🇳 Huế 🇰🇷 Hwasun County 🇪🇸 Ibiza 🇦🇿 Icherisheher 🇰🇷 Iksan 🇹🇷 Istanbul 🇸🇦 Jeddah 🇺🇸 Jerusalem 🇮🇱 Jerusalem 🇰🇷 Jongno-Gu 🇹🇳 Kairouan 🇱🇰 Kandy 🇮🇩 Karangasem 🇸🇪 Karlskrona 🇳🇵 Kathmandu 🇷🇺 Kazan 🇺🇿 Khiva 🇩🇰 Kolding 🇹🇷 Konya 🇲🇪 Kotor 🇵🇱 Kraków 🇨🇿 Kutná Hora 🇯🇵 Kyōto 🇳🇵 Lalitpur 🇰🇪 Lamu 🇫🇷 Le Havre 🇫🇯 Levuka 🇨🇳 Lijiang 🇵🇪 Lima 🇱🇦 Luang Prabang 🇩🇪 Lübeck 🇨🇦 Lunenburg 🇱🇺 Luxembourg City 🇺🇦 Lviv 🇫🇷 Lyon 🇲🇴 Macau 🇲🇾 Malacca City 🇲🇦 Marrakesh 🇲🇦 Meknes 🇻🇪 Mérida 🇲🇽 Mérida 🇪🇸 Mérida 🇲🇽 Mexico City 🇵🇭 Miagao 🇮🇹 Modena 🇰🇪 Mombasa 🇫🇷 Mont-Saint-Michel 🇲🇽 Morelia 🇷🇺 Moscow 🇺🇸 Moscow 🇧🇦 Mostar 🇲🇿 Mozambique 🇧🇭 Muharraq 🇫🇷 Nancy 🇯🇵 Nara 🇩🇪 Naumburg 🇧🇬 Nessebar 🇳🇴 Notodden 🇲🇽 Oaxaca 🇲🇰 Ohrid 🇧🇷 Olinda 🇧🇷 Ouro Preto 🇺🇸 Oviedo 🇪🇸 Oviedo 🇮🇹 Padula 🇮🇹 Palazzolo Acreide 🇵🇦 Panama City 🇫🇷 Paris 🇺🇸 Paris 🇺🇸 Paris 🇬🇷 Patmos 🇺🇸 Philadelphia 🇵🇹 Porto 🇧🇴 Potosí 🇩🇪 Potsdam 🇺🇸 Potsdam 🇨🇿 Prague 🇫🇷 Provins 🇲🇽 Puebla 🇲🇲 Pyay 🇨🇦 Québec 🇩🇪 Quedlinburg 🇲🇽 Querétaro 🇪🇨 Quito 🇲🇦 Rabat 🇫🇮 Rauma 🇩🇪 Regensburg 🇬🇷 Rhodes 🇱🇻 Riga 🇵🇪 Rímac 🇧🇷 Rio de Janeiro 🇳🇱 Rotterdam 🇳🇴 Røros 🇹🇷 Safranbolu 🇷🇺 Saint Petersburg 🇫🇷 Saint-Louis 🇪🇸 Salamanca 🇧🇷 Salvador 🇦🇹 Salzburg 🇺🇸 San Antonio 🇨🇱 San Antonio 🇮🇨 San Cristóbal de La Laguna 🇮🇹 San Gimignano 🇲🇽 San Miguel de Allende 🇲🇽 San Pablo Villa de Mitla 🇾🇪 Sanaa 🇨🇴 Santa Cruz de Mompox 🇪🇸 Santiago de Compostela 🇧🇷 São Luís 🇪🇸 Segovia 🇹🇷 Selçuk 🇰🇷 Seongbuk 🇾🇪 Shibam 🇷🇴 Sighișoara 🇸🇬 Singapore 🇵🇹 Sintra 🇹🇳 Sousse 🇭🇷 Split 🇧🇲 St George's 🇸🇪 Stockholm 🇩🇪 Stralsund 🇫🇷 Strasbourg 🇧🇴 Sucre 🇮🇩 Surakarta 🇰🇷 Suwon 🇷🇺 Suzdal 🇨🇳 Suzhou 🇪🇪 Tallinn 🇪🇸 Tarragona 🇮🇱 Tel Aviv 🇨🇿 Telč 🇬🇧 Telford 🇲🇦 Tétouan 🇲🇱 Timbuktu 🇳🇴 Tinn 🇲🇽 Tlacotalpan 🇧🇷 Toledo 🇺🇸 Toledo 🇵🇭 Toledo 🇪🇸 Toledo 🇵🇱 Toruń 🇨🇿 Třebíč 🇨🇺 Trinidad 🇭🇷 Trogir 🇭🇳 Trujillo 🇵🇪 Trujillo 🇹🇳 Tunis 🇰🇿 Turkistan 🇲🇹 Valletta 🇨🇱 Valparaíso 🇻🇦 Vatican City 🇷🇺 Veliky Novgorod 🇺🇸 Vienna 🇺🇸 Vienna 🇦🇹 Vienna 🇵🇭 Vigan 🇱🇹 Vilnius 🇳🇴 Vinje 🇸🇪 Visby 🇵🇱 Warsaw 🇺🇸 Warsaw 🇨🇼 Willemstad 🇩🇪 Wismar 🇲🇽 Xochimilco 🇰🇷 Yangsan 🇷🇺 Yaroslavl 🇮🇷 Yazd 🇰🇷 Yeongju 🇦🇲 Yerevan 🇾🇪 Zabid 🇲🇽 Zacatecas 🇵🇱 Zamość 🇹🇿 Zanzibar City

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Antipodal to Úbeda is: 176.631,-38.008

Locations Near: Úbeda -3.36851,38.0081

🇪🇸 Linares -3.63,38.098 d: 25  

🇪🇸 Jaén -3.771,37.767 d: 44.4  

🇪🇸 Granada -3.6,37.167 d: 95.8  

🇪🇸 Ciudad Real -3.917,38.983 d: 118.5  

🇪🇸 Tomelloso -3.017,39.15 d: 130.6  

🇪🇸 Motril -3.517,36.75 d: 140.5  

🇪🇸 Lucena -4.483,37.4 d: 119.1  

🇪🇸 Montilla -4.633,37.583 d: 120.8  

🇪🇸 El Ejido -2.817,36.767 d: 146.4  

🇪🇸 Alcázar de San Juan -3.2,39.4 d: 155.5  

Antipodal to: Úbeda 176.631,-38.008

🇳🇿 Rotorua 176.25,-38.133 d: 19978.9  

🇳🇿 Tauranga 176.154,-37.7 d: 19960.9  

🇳🇿 Taupō 176.072,-38.687 d: 19925.2  

🇳🇿 Cambridge 175.467,-37.883 d: 19912  

🇳🇿 Hamilton 175.28,-37.788 d: 19894  

🇳🇿 Napier 176.9,-39.505 d: 19847  

🇳🇿 Gisborne 178.016,-38.659 d: 19874.3  

🇳🇿 Hastings 176.843,-39.645 d: 19832.2  

🇳🇿 Auckland 174.763,-36.853 d: 19806  

🇳🇿 North Shore City 174.75,-36.8 d: 19801.4  

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