The Arab Baths known as, Hamman al-Walad (‘Bath of the Child’ in Arabic), are located in the basements of the Villardompardo Palace. They have a surface area of 450m², and are probably the largest in Spain and are visited by more than 55,000 people a year.
The baths were built in 1002 AD, over the remains of either a Roman villa or a bath house with a portico. The baths were probably renovated in the twelfth century, due to the presence Almohad decorations which are preserved in some of its rooms.
After the reconquest of the city in 1246 by Fernando III el Santo, the baths continued to be used during the first years of Christian rule. Between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries their use as a bath house was changed to that of tanneries. At the end of the sixteenth century, Don Fernando de Torres y Portugal, I Count of Villardompardo and VII Viceroy of Peru, built his Palace over the baths, buried they lay forgotten.
In 1913, parts of the baths were discovered during the construction of the Monumental Catalog of Jaén. Four years later the archaeologists proposed that the building be declared a National Monument, which occurred in 1931. In 1936, restoration works began under the direction of the architects, Leopoldo Torres Balbás and Luis Berges Martínez. These works were interrupted by the beginning of the Civil War. In 1970, the General Directorate of Fine Arts resumed the restoration of the building, entrusting it to the architect, Luis Berges Roldán, son of the previous one, and it was completed in 1984.
The Europa Nostra Association awarded the Medal of Honor for that year for the restoration of the Arab Baths. In 2008, the baths served as the setting in the film ‘The Conspiracy of El Escorial’ by director, Antonio del Real.
Tel: 953 24 80 68
Located in Plaza Santa Luisa de Marillac.