Much of the province of Jaen is cloaked in a sea of olive groves, the trees arranged in regimented rows which stretch as far as the eye can see. This is the world's biggest producer of olives, and the source of especially fine olive oil.
The traveler might be tempted to think there is nothing but olive trees here, but further exploration reveals some of the most spectacular wild landscapes in Spain. Much of the province is protected as nature park areas, the most famous of which is the Sierra de Cazorla y Segura park in the mountains that separate Jaen from the province of Granada. Here, at the source of Andalusia's mightly Guadalquivir river, a rich wildlife thrives among thick forests and craggy mountain peaks.
For many centuries Jaen, the natural gateway between Castile and Andalusia, stood on the border between Christendom and the Moorish territories. The numerous castles that stand proud and solitary on hilltops around the province are a testimony of those turbulent times. Later, with peace, many of its towns rose to prominence and acquired a wealth of outstanding Renaissance monuments.
The Renaissance towns of Ubeda and Baeza
The Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas nature park
Extra virgin olive oil from Jaen
The world's best collection of Iberian sculptures
Medieval castles dotted around the province
Travel in Jaen
Crossroads of Andalusia
Jaen appeals to the modern traveller with its unique mix of history and Spanish atmosphere.
A Walk Among Bulls
Observing Spain's toro bravo on the ranches where this proud breed is raised.
The Magic Mountains
The Sierra Magina in Jaen is an island of tranquillity where man lives in harmony with nature.
War and Peace
Travellers interested in historic battles have a field day in northern Jaen.
The Secrets of Despeñaperros
The dramatic gateway to Andalusia is a wild region just waiting to be explored.
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Copyright © 2000 An Andalusian Experience. Text by Mark Little. Photography by J. D. Dallet - A Freelance Spain production
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Copyright © 2000-2006 Mark and David Little & J.D. Dallet