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.[citation needed]
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.

Inner yard of castle – reconstructed by christian forces after conquer of Jaen.

Old city of Jaen really lies behind very high hills and Castillo de Santa Catalina.

View over inner yard inside castle – Yes – it is very nice looking.

A narrow portico inside Castillo.

One can imagine soldiers of castle looking from their watch post over valley – looking any signs of invaders.

View from castle walls towards north.

Very nice view towards south.

Jaen was about 500 years land of Moors – so they were born, living and dying there. Memory of one muslim ruler.

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…

A closer look about and from cross.

Views to west – yards and hills behind Castillo.

A view from north from Castillo.

Jaen cathedral is big and impressive – it looks also majestic at night.

Walls of Castillo seen from downwards from city street with magnifying lens.

A view from cathedral main door from other side of plaza.

An old muslin palace of Jaen – now a city house and museum.

Nearby there is a nice inner yard with pool.

There is a nice museum and old moor bathhouse in Jaen – nice building.

On the ground floor of the museum is located the bathhouse – it has really impressing structures.

Arches of the bathhouse are really remarkable – what a nice time it must have been here…

More views and arches from bathhouse which has several rooms.

Probably the holes of stars in ceiling have been shining light from outside or there has been even lambs/torches to let light shine in. Must have been really amazing…

Here one mosaic from actual museum above bathhouse.

And of course some Roman oil labs in museum.

More mosaics from city museum.

But this is the jewel – I had to take a photo from it. A nice painting in museum from NHL where Montreal goalkeeper seem to be the hero of this Spanish kid. Cool! What an excellent style!