Jaen is a city and province in southern Spain – part of old Andalucia. It is well known especially about olives. There are olive fields as long as eye can see. Even though there are signs of early settlements firstly Carthagians left clearly their mark to landscape and it is said that the foundations of Castillo de Santa Catalina is coming from Carthagian times. When Hannibal was slayed in second Punic war all Hispania became part of Roman realm. Under Roman command city was named as Flavio Aurgitano. It was not such a big settlement as Merida or new Carthage but still city that Romans kept in tact. There are no more buildings left from Roman past but many artifacts can be seen in local museum. As everywhere else in Spain next in timeline came Visigoths but for them Jaen was distant settlement. Their capital was in Toledo – much more inlands. The great time period for Jaen came when Berbers form northern Africa conquered it – as most part of Spain. For them Jaen meant much more partly because it was closer of north Africa. From 711 AD all the way to 1246 Jaen was controlled by Moors and it experienced good times during their region. For more than 500 hundred years Moors built palaces, fortresses, houses and baths in Jaen – some of them can still be visited.
But times went by after year 711. New wave of invading berbers – Almohads – were threatening christian cities in Spain and at 1195 AD Alfonso VIII met their army in Alarcos. In the battle Alfonso VIII of Castile was defeated by Almohad army. Because of the lost Castilia Moors conquered several cities. But worse was coming and in 1211 AD a new berber army came over strait from Northern Africa and conquered even castle of Order of Calatrava. Because of this Pope asked men to join crusade against Moors. So Christian forces of King Alfonso VIII of Castile were joined by Sancho VII of Navarre, Peter II of Aragon and Afonso II of Portugal against the Berber Almohad Muslim rulers. The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa took place in July 1212 where Christian forces slayed Moors. The defeat of army if Moors was total and so Christian forces launched series of campaigns where Cordova, Jaen, and Seville was taken. Jaen in 1246 AD. Below some important dates for Jaen.
1002 – Baños Árabes de Jaén (es) (bath) constructed.
1225 – Siege of Jaén (1225).
1230 – Siege of Jaén (1230) by Castilian forces.
1245 – Siege of Jaén (1245–46) begins.
1246 – Jaén becomes part of the Kingdom of Castile per Treaty of Jaén (es).
All in all Jaen was everything I expected – an interesting and very nice looking city. And those olive fields were very impressive! Still it makes me wonder. Moors lived here several hundred years and so they started to feel it was their own land – even though they conquered it first. After five hundred years they were kicked out from region which must have been painful because they were born here. And what is left now from their culture after another 500 hundreds years. Couple palaces, a bathhouse and some artifacts in museum. Not much. That is living. Everything changes and nothing stays the same. I guess we need to accept that. And there is no nation, no people and no man who can not lost everything – that is life!
Some photos about Jaen.
Nice views from Castillo de Santa Catalina. Jaen stands in a valley and on western side (also southern side) there are very high hills where castle is located. Some people believes that first castle was from Carthagian origin. Castillo controls everything around here. It looks majestically over the city and over big big olive fields.
Towards the city from Castillo there is an impressive high hill or cliff – very high level where stands big cross to reminding of our culture and faith. A small path goes there from Castillo.
Whole valley stands there in your feet. Very impressive…