The rugged Sierra Mágina Natural Park covers 19,900ha of rocky, steep limestone terrain, with precipitous cliffs and high summits that are often snow-capped in winter. Evocatively named by the Moors as the mountain of the spirits, the Sierra has a fascinating history glimpsed in its prehistoric cave paintings and defensive architecture built by warring Christians and Muslims. In the 10th century it harboured Moorish rebel leaders and much later, bandits. Its remote corners also provided a refuge for bears, wolves and the pardel lynx.
The gently rolling 74,774ha Sierra de Andújar, part of the vast Sierra Morena, is densely wooded and boasts one of Andalucia's best preserved expanses of Mediterranean forest and scrubland. Flowing through the rocky hills is the Yeguas river, with many lovely spots to sit and meditate along its banks. Its more remote areas are inhabited by an impressive number of endangered species, such as the pardel lynx, wolf, black vulture and imperial eagle.
With a total surface area of 209,920ha and covering almost a fifth of Jaen province, this is Spain's largest protected area and one its most extensive forested zones. Located in eastern Jaen province, it connects the Sierra Morena and the Subbética mountain ranges. The highest peak in this immense park is Pico Empanada at 2,107m and the entire park is higher than 600m.
The Despeñaperros Natural Park is a magnificent sheer-walled rocky river gorge that forms the backdrop of the most dramatic gateway into Andalucia. As the only natural break in the 500km-long Sierra Morena, it used to be one of the main routes into Andalucia from the north and Madrid. Today it is occupied by the A4 motorway and the Cadiz-Madrid railway line.
Ubeda (pronounced OO-bay-da), with its wealth of Renaissance palaces and churches, has much in common with its counterpart Baeza. The outstanding feature is the monumental square, the Plaza de Vázquez de Molina, surrounded with imposing buildings such as the Palacio de las Cadenas
Baeza is tiny, compact and provincial with a kind of perpetual Sunday air about it. At its heart is the combined Plaza Mayor and the paseo which is flanked by pavement cafes but delightfully low key and atmospheric. The Plaza de Leones is a particularly attractive cobbled square enclosed by Renaissance buildings and stands slightly back at the far end.
Lopera has its origins in the Bronze Age, with remains from this period having been found in the farmhouses of Almazán, Lanzarino I and Cuatro Hermanas. From the Iron Age period, remains of Iberian culture stand out, such as the deposits of Cerro de la Casa, Cerro de los Pollos and Cerro de San Cristóbal.
The Area Metropolitana of Jaen consists of the following municipal districts. Fuensanta de Martos,
Fuerte del Rey,
Higuera de Calatrava,
La Guardia de Jaén,
Santiago de Calatrava,
The Sierra Morena comarca or area of Jaen province is the mountain range in the northern part of the province. It composed of the mountain range that separates Andalucia with the plains of Casitlla La Mancha and through it is cut the gorge of Despeñaperros which is known historically as the 'gateway to Andalucia'.
This church’s construction began in 1467 and continued until 1624. Of Gothic origin, it has a hall plan with three naves, with ribbed vaults at the feet. During the sixteenth century, its robust tower, made of brick and Mudejar decoration, began to be erected.
The roman bridge was built at the beginning of the second century AD, in the time of Septimio Severo Pío, according to the inscription that appears on a broken tombstone of the bridge, found during works in the nineteenth century.
The eighth-century church is the oldest temple in the city, built on a mosque and commemorating the day that Fernando III entered Andújar. Originally built in the Gothic style, it underwent important transformations in the first half of the seventeenth century.
It is unknown exactly when this church was built, however, it is likely that it was a long building process, including some reflections of the aestheticism of the sixteenth century, such as its imposing bell tower.
The Municipal Palace (1620-1639) is an Asset of Cultural Interest (2009) where festive, religious and residential spaces have been combined since its creation. As a comedy house, it was one of the best in Andalusia.
The presence of the Contemplative Trinitarian Mothers in the city dates back to 1587, the year in which they founded their convent. Little remains of the original convent, due to the passing time and successive renovations.