Jaén

The Muslim presence (for five hundred years) has meant that the architecture and layout of Jaen are visibly influenced by Andalusí. The lines of Jaen’s urban development were fixed during the Arab domination turning it into a fortified square which would play an enormous role in the internal struggles in this period of history.

Later, after the Muslims had passed through the city, Alhamar, King of Jaén, handed the city over to Fernando III, leaving it in Christian hands. This monarch ordered the building of a new Alcázar, or palace, currently known as the Castillo de Santa Catalina, and moved the Episcopal headquarters from Baeza to Jaén, turning the city into the capital of the kingdom.

Later, between 1460 and 1473, Don Miguel Lucas de Iranzo began reforming the ancient medieval city into the future Renaissance centre.

This Renaissance period is one of the most significant in the development of Jaén. The city became one of the most important in Castile, basing its economy on cereal crops and the leather and craftwork sectors, eventually making it one of the most important in Spain and turnning it into the political and administrative capital of the kingdom.

This is also the age of the new Cathedral, which displayed the splendour of the city and made it a cultural centre for artists.

In spite of this splendour, the XIX century would turn the city into a key logistical and strategic area during the War of Independence, which in the end brought with it an inevitable economic decline from which Jaen would not recover. The city became a provincial capital with a weak economy based on agriculture, administration and services.

Since 1960 Jaen has grown significantly, completely transforming the city.

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