Revealing Why Ubeda, Spain is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Revealing Why Ubeda, Spain is a UNESCO World Heritage Site


Ubeda is one of the jewel’s in Andalucia’s crown, an elegant and cultural town. Included on the UNESCO World Heritage list as an early example of Renaissance civic architecture, it’s an easy drive from GranadaJaenCarmona and Seville. For our road trip, we’d booked into some of Spain’s most historic hotels, the Paradors. These iconic properties are located in scenic areas and are often landmarks in their own right. The Parador of Úbeda is situated right in the centre of the old town in a 16th century palace. The Palacio del Deán Ortega was originally built for Fernando Ortego, dean of Malaga Cathedral, but he died before it was completed. It’s next to the Pantheon, one of Ubeda’s most impressive sights, on the pedestrian main square.

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Entering the Parador, you’re immediately struck by the sense of space in the covered inner courtyard.

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The interior is filled with genuine antiques including this attractive ironwork light. It’s one half of a pair with the other in the Palacio Vela de los Cobos.

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Our spacious room opened onto a Juliet balcony, overlooking a quiet courtyard.

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There was an attractive tiled floor, beautiful carved wood shutters and a good sized bathroom with two vanity basins.

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After a relaxing evening and a great night’s sleep, we were ready to meet Pablo, our tour guide, who knows Ubeda like the back of his hand. He’s actually the town’s Festival Director but with his excellent English and local expertise, he’s often called upon to show around overseas visitors. It was pouring with rain, which is very rare in the area, as we headed to Sacra Capilla de El Salvadornext door to the Parador.

Revealing Why Ubeda is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Known locally as the Pantheon, it was commissioned as a mausoleum by Francisco de los Cobos y Molina. Designed by celebrated Renaissance architect Andrés de Vandelvira, who also built Jaen’s Cathedral, it was built between 1536 and 1559. These days it’s a Catholic chapel, owned by the Medinaceli family, descendants of the Cobos.

Pantheon_Ubeda
The Colegiata de Santa María de los Reales Alcázares is a short walk from the chapel and also located on Plaza Vázquez de Molina, the old town’s magnificent Renaissance square. There was previously a Roman temple on this site, then a Moorish mosque and the church itself was constructed from 1510 to 1645.  It was declared a National Monument in 1926 and is Ubeda’s main church. The barrel-vaulted ceiling is particularly impressive and was created in the seventeenth century.

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Opposite the church is the Palacio Vazquez de Molina, another masterpiece by Andrés de Vandelvira, constructed between 1546 and 1565. It was commissioned by Juan Vazquez de Molina, secretary of State for Philip II and the nephew of Francisco de los Cobos,  and is now the City hall.

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Next we visited the Palacio de Vela de los Cobos, a real highlight of our Ubeda trip. Whilst it’s true that the palace itself has some impressive heirlooms, what makes it so special in my eyes is that the owner showed us around. It’s moments like these which make me so grateful to do what I do l, as he rarely shows people around now. I won’t reveal his age but if I reach it and still have a twinkle in my eye and such an interest in everything, I’ll be very happy! He has worked hard with the local municipality to preserve the palace and his former bedroom is exactly as it was when he was a young boy.

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The library is a truly impressive space with many first editions and is particularly popular with scholars.

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What a great ending to a fabulous visit. Ubeda is somewhere that I’d love to return to, for its timeless elegance and old school charm. I have it on good authority that the tapas are excellent too! It was time for the next leg of our road trip, travelling on to charming Carmona. We’d parked our car close by and were able to locate it easily with the help of ZUS. This vehicle locator, backed by an App, even has a countdown that tells you how long you have been parked somewhere, which should help avoid any fines for overstaying! It’s also a handy smart car charger that charges two devices, two times faster than normal car chargers.

ZUS-car-charger-review
Our stay at the Parador of Ubeda was complimentary for the purposes of this review

  • I love hotels with history!
    Lots of love,
    Angie

    SilverSpoon London

  • Oh my gosh that lamp. AND THAT uniform display in the bedroom! I’d love to fall asleep looking at something that beautiful (I bet trippy dreams about soldiers would ensue). I can absolutely see why Ubeda is a UNESCO site – what a treasure! x

    Does My Travel Privilege Look Big In This? | Posh, Broke, & Bored

  • Everything is stunning! I really love that library, looks so enticing!

    Ash | Liakada

    • The library was amazing and such a privilege to have a look at all the priceless books in there

  • Oh my gosh that library!!!! What an incredible place to visit- the architecture looks so detailed

    Rachel xx
    http://www.thedailyluxe.net

    • The architecture is really beautiful, I’d love to return when the sun is shining!

  • Everything looks so nice… I love a good courtyard. In fact, I covet courtyards. And libraries. With globes. Obviously 😉

  • Beautiful architecture – looks like a fantastic place to visit in Andalusia!

    • There are so many lovely places in Andalusia but this one definitely deserves to be better known

  • Such a cute library! Ubeda looks like a place I’d love to visit one day too! The architecture is so impressive!

  • Mehreen A

    The buildings look really beautiful, the whole town does 🙂 Thanks for sharing x

    wrapyourlipsaroundthis.com

  • Agness

    OMG what a beautiful place. I am wondering now why I have not visited it in the past! Added to my bucket list! 🙂

    • I’m sure you’ll love it there if you get to visit, Agness! Have a great weekend

  • Such a gorgeous place! Love the architecture here.

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

    • It was so unspoilt, hardly any new houses and those have to blend in with the existing ones

  • Wow, I’m adding Ubeda to my list! That hotel looks so lovely.

    • I’m sure you’ll love it, Carmen! Hope you’re recovering well and have a great weekend

  • I’ve never heard of Ubeda until now. What a beautiful town. And it’s so special that you got a personal tour of Palacio de Vela de los Cobos. I could spend an entire day there reading in that library.

    • The private tour of the Palacio was amazing and the owner was so friendly.Thanks for stopping by!

  • Ellie Adams

    I’ve actually never heard of Ubeda (bad bad travel blogger) but I am definitely adding this to my travel bucket list. Such a hauntingly beautiful place with so much character, definitely need to visit!

    Elle
    http://www.theellenextdoor.com
    xx

    • I hadn’t heard of it until we started researching our trip but it’s a great place to visit if you’re doing a whole road trip

  • Everything looks amazing! It’s like travelling back in time. I like the courtyard – stunning!!!