Ubeda (pop’n. – 35,000). There is evidence of pre-Roman, Roman, Visigoth and Muslim settlement before its conquest by Fernando (Ferdinand) III of Castile in 1233. Over the next two centuries Muslim, Christian and Jewish cultures co-existed, though its prosperity was damaged by rivalry between local nobility and civil war. Stability returned during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs (Ferdinand and Isabella - Charles V's grandparents) in the late 15th century, though at the cost of increasing persecution and then expulsion of first the Jews and later the Muslim population.
Ubeda’s wealth in the 16th century was greatly boosted by the rise of Francisco de los Cobos to become the main administrator in Spain for Emperor Charles V (Carlos I in Spain) between 1530 and 1547. The wealth he was able to amass is reflected many of the main buildings of the old centre. The Palacio Vela de los Cobos, the Sacra Capilla de El Salvador del Mundo and the Hospital de Santiago are all very close to the Plaza de Vasquez de Molina. The Capilla de El Salvador was financed by Francisco de los Cobos and designed by Andres de Vandelvira and Diego de Siloe. It is reputed to be the largest civil mausoleum in Spain - de los Cobos and his wife Maria de Mendoza are buried in the crypt.
A short distance away it is possible admire the superb view from the old walls - across the surrounding countryside to the distant hills of the Cazorla National Park.
Excellent free maps of Ubeda, Baeza, and Jaen, as well as plenty of other well presented booklets are available at the local tourist information centres.