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Baeza is a town of approximately 15,000 inhabitants in Andalusiamarker, Spainmarker, in the province of Jaénmarker, perched on a cliff in the Loma de Baeza, a mountain range between the river Guadalquivir on the south and its tributary the Guadalimar on the north. The town has existed since Roman times, when it was called Beatia, but it is chiefly known today as having many of the best-preserved examples of Italian Renaissance architecture in Spain. UNESCOmarker added Baeza and Úbedamarker to the World Heritage Sites list in 2003.
Santa Maria cathedral façade, designed by Andrés de Vandelvira.
Row of Renaissance palaces.
In the Middle Ages Baeza was a flourishing Moorish city, said to contain 50,000 inhabitants, but it fell to the forces of Ferdinand III of Castile in 1227. The Cordovamarker and √öbedamarker gates, and the arch of Baeza, are among the remains of its Moorish fortifications.

In the 16th century, Baeza and nearby Úbedamarker grew rich from the production of textiles, and local nobles hired important architects, suchas Andrés de Vandelvira, to design new palaces, churches and public squares in the fashionable Italian style. The economy collapsed in the 17th century, which had the fortunate side effect of preserving Baeza's Renaissance architectural legacy, because few newer structures were built. Baeza appears much more Italian than Spanish, with an unusual sense of lightness, order, and proportion.

Baeza's chief Renaissance structures are the university, established in 1538, which is now a summer school for the University of Granada, the Catedral de Santa Mar√≠a, the Palacio de Jabalquinto, and the squares of Plaza de Espa√Īa and the Paseo de la Constituc√≠on. All of these sites are located within walking distance of each other, in what is called the Zona Monumental.

Baeza is 327 km (203 miles) by highway south of Madridmarker. It has a RENFE rail station (Linares - Baeza) 9 miles southwest on the Linares-Almeria railway and bus transportation from Granadamarker, M√°lagamarker and Madridmarker. The nearest international airports are in Granada, 132 km (82 miles) south and M√°laga, 241 km (150 miles) to the southwest.

Notable Residents of Baeza

Baeza was the birthplace of the sculptor and painter Gaspar Becerra. Also, two of the most important mystics and writers of the sixteenth century resided in Baeza, Saint John of √Āvila and Saint John of the Cross. The modernist poet Antonio Machado worked as a teacher in Baeza from 1912 until 1919, and it is believed that his most notable prose work, Juan de Mairena, was inspired by his experience there.

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