Jaen history and the worlds olive oil capital.

In the middle of Andalucia, in the low farmland, there Guadalquivir, on of Spain largest river coming down from the mountains Sierra de Cazorla and slow down is Jaen. Guadalquivir River appears to lose much of its boisterousness and a frivolity appearing strangely out of place in this dry, rolling farmer landscape whose endless monotony of neatly spaced olive trees creates a symmetrical beauty and fascination of its own. Jaen produces the finest and best olive oil in whole Spain and that’s way they call it “the Spanish Gold”.

Jaen Is a city in Andalucia and the capital of the province of the same name. It has a population of approximately 180,000 people and is becoming increasingly popular with tourists. Jaen is situated in the middle between Malaga on Costa del Sol and Madrid in the inland. It takes about 2 hours driving from Malaga International airport to Jean.

Jaen, Worlds capital of Olive Oil.

Jaen is also known as the Worlds capital of Olive Oil, because it’s the biggest producer of this liquid gold. It’s said that there are over 150 million olive trees in the province and the olive groves are a dominant feature of the land.and rows of olives trees populate the countryside as far the eye can see. The colour of the land between the lines of green olive groves is a deep red, and the rolling landscape sweeps away as far as the eye can see occasionally broken by the occasional stark white farm building.

Jaen old history.

Jaen history goes back to the Copper Age, and cave paintings and megalithic architecture prove there were inhabitants in the area earlier than the year 2.000BC. Remains of pottery also show there was Iberian presence in approximately 500BC. Jaen was an area of passage for many civilisations such as the Romans and Phoenicians, but the first large-scale conquest comes from the Carthaginians in 237BC.

The local mines were developed and the area become extremely prosperous – so much so that it was feared by the Romans until it was finally taken by Scipio in 207BC. It never becomes a large city, but its opulence remains obvious from the mosaics which can be seen in the province museum.
Visigoths took the city in the sixth century but it continued to have mainly Hispano-Roman populations.

Jaen under the Arab and Moorish rule.

Jean was under Arab rule for five centuries and, like most of Andalucia the city was home to mosques, fountains, abundant crops, fortresses and palaces. It was a centre of culture and become famous for its beautiful hand-woven carpets and wood which was exported throughout Al-Andalus and the Maghreb. The name “Jaen” probably derives from the Arabic “Yayyan”, meaning crossroads of caravans. Jaen was taken by the Kingdom of Castilla in 1246 by means of a pact between Fernando III and the Nasrid King of Jean Muhammed I. It received the name in 1300 an 1369, but never taken back.

When Granada was conquered in 1492, Jaen went into decline and it was not until the 17th century when it becomes one of the peninsula’s most important craft centres, and played an important role in both military and economic relations with the Americas. However, after that, the city become increasingly poor and inhabitants gradually left for other areas. This crisis continued in the 20th century.

Jaen remains homes to some important monuments.

Jaen Cathedra, one of the most important Renaissance style cathedrals, begun in 1570 and completed in 1802. It is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, and was built to shelter the Relic of The Holy Face, or Veil of Veronica, which is kept at the chapel and exposed to the public every Friday. It aspires to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Santa Catalina’s Castle, which can be seen from any point of the city and dates from the time of Hannibal. Some remains of what was previously an Arabic fortress can still be observed. The current construction is of Christian origin, raised after the conquest of the city for Ferdinand III of Castilla.

Arab Baths, the most significant remnants of the Moorish era, built during the reign of Abd Al Rahman III They are the largest Arab Baths preserved in Spain and are located under Villardompardo Palace.

San Andres Chapel built on the ruins of an ancient Visigoth palace.
San Ildefonso Church, the largest church in the city after the cathedral. It was built between the 14th and 15th centuries and has three facades, one in Gothic style, another Renaissance and the third Neo-classical.

Other important monuments are the Museum of Arts and Popular Customs, the International Museum of Naif Art, the Provincial Museum of Jaen (with a collection of archaeological Iberian remains), the Royal Convent of Santo Domingo, San Juan de Dios Hospital, and many other monuments including ancient fountains, gate to the city, ramparts and palaces.

The legend of the Jaen Lizard.

Many legends exist in Jaen but one of the most famous tells of the Malena Lizard, known throughout Spain as the Jaen Lizard, and also the reason why people from the province are called “Lizards”. This animal was said to have terrorised shepherds at the end of the 15th century and eaten their sheep. They didn’t know what to do until one day, a man on a horse, who was said to have been a prisoner condemned to death, arrived on horseback. He called for the lizard to come out and threw a lamb at it in which he had placed a lighted branch. The lizard gulped the lamb down one mouthful and seconds later exploded and died. This led to a Spanish saying which goes; “You will explode like the lizard of Jaen”.

The legend of Omar and Zoraida.

Another famous legend says that in Moorish times, the Castle of Jaen had a lord called Omar, a brave knight who was passionately in love with his wife, Zoraida. One evening he was called to the city and galloped away on his horse. He didn’t return and his wife, after spending a sleepless night, went out to look for him. She found him dead with a knife in his back. He had obviously been killed as he returned to the castle. Her pain was so great that she embraced his body and began to cry. When she was found by passers-by, they tried to separate her from the body.

However, they found she was also dead although the tears were still running down her cheeks. As the tears fell to the ground, they mixed with clear waters that had suddenly begun to appear in an area that had always been dry. A spring developed which was known as Caño Quebrado. From then on, on February nights, it is said that the figures of the two lovers appear, their arms around each other, walking towards the castle.

Jaen today and the gastronomy of Jaen.

Today Jaen is slowly become a new popularly place for tourism and for living in the peaceful country area with rolling hills in a rustic rural which often is the only properties who is for sale. The plot price is very high because it is olive trees everywhere so the it’s just building apartments, only the rich people has afford with luxury villas in Jaen.

The gastronomy of Jaen is very varied, with typical local dishes such as pipirrana (tomatoes, green peppers, breadcrumbs, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and hard-boiled egg); spinach Jaen style (garlic, croutons, spicy sausage, laurel, egg, rind of orange and vinegar); Jaen rice, beef with chopped garlic, Jaen river trout (trout, butter, chunks of bacon, parsley, white wine and salt) ajo blanco (soup made with almonds, olive oil, eggs, garlic, salt, vinegar and water). Among the most well-known confectionery of Jaen there is rice pudding, gachas (porridge), pestiños (fried batter in honey), gsanillos (similar to pestiños with wine and aniseed) and ochios (cakes with cinnamon and sesame).


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