Jaen, Spain (Capital) - Encyclopedia


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JAEN, the capital of the Spanish province of Jaen, on the Linares-Puente Genii railway, 1500 ft. above the sea. Pop. (1900), 26,434. Jaen is finely situated on the well-wooded northern slopes of the Jabalcuz Mountains, overlooking the picturesque valleys of the Jaen and Guadalbullon rivers, which flow north into the Guadalquivir. The hillside upon which the narrow and irregular city streets rise in terraces is fortified with Moorish walls and a Moorish citadel. Jaen is an episcopal see. Its cathedral was founded in 1532; and, although it remained unfinished until late in the 18th century, its main characteristics are those of the Renaissance period. The city contains many churches and convents, a library, art galleries, theatres, barracks and hospitals. Its manufactures include leather, soap, alcohol and linen; and it was formerly celebrated for its silk. There are hot mineral springs in the mountains, 2 m. south.

The identification of Jaen with the Roman Aurinx, which has sometimes been suggested, is extremely questionable. After the Moorish conquest Jaen was an important commercial centre, under the name of Jayyan; and ultimately became capital of a petty kingdom, which was brought to an end only in 1246 by Ferdinand III. of Castille, who transferred hither the bishopric of Baeza in 1248. Ferdinand IV. died at Jaen in 1312. In 1712 the city suffered severely from an earthquake.

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