Your story – Medium-sized Cities in the Centre of Andalusia

Your story – Medium-sized Cities in the Centre of Andalusia



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The city of the three cultures

The city of Lucena experienced a time of splendour during the Moorish occupation of Spain, when it became the main Jewish town of Al Andalus. There was an important Jewish university there, and many of its intellectuals subsequently travelled to Toledo to found the School of Translators. The co-existence of Christians, Jews and Arabs earned the city the name of "the city of the three cultures". It is currently the second most important city in Cordoba Province after the capital.

   The battle of Martín González took place nearby, where the last king of Granada, Boabdil, was apprehended and imprisoned for a while in the Tower at Castillo del Moral. This monument houses the museum of history-archaeology of the city. A visit to this museum must be made in conjunction with a visit to the Interpretation Centre of the City of Lucena, located in the former baroque palace of the Counts of Santa Ana.

The footprints of the past are evident in sites such as the Cave of the Angel, on the hillside of the Sierra de Aras and considered to be one of the most important Palaeolithic sites in Europe. Also worth mentioning are the Visigoth basilica and the Roman site of Los Tejares, a group of kilns from an important pottery which has been partly restored.

The economic growth in the 18th century transformed Lucena into one of the great baroque cities of Andalusia. Examples of this can be found in the splendid Sacrarium of San Mateo, in the church of the same name and inthe Chapel of the Virgen de Araceli, the patron saint of Lucena and whose festivities are celebrated on the first Sunday in May.

Two pieces are the main examples of the arts and crafts of Lucena: the candle and the perula. It is said that Miguel de Cervantes wrote Don Quixote under the light of a candle from Lucena. The perula is a green glazed earthenware pot that dates back to Moorish times

History

Lucena’s role as a crossroads, known as the City of the Three Cultures and by the Medieval Jews as the Pearl of Sefarad, has encouraged human settlement of these lands since the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic periods. The role it played during the first Islamic era was of great importance as the main centre for Jewish populations in Al Andalus. It was the location of an important Jewish university, whose many intellectuals then travelled to Toledo to found the School of Translators.

The battle of Martín González, where the last king of Granada, Boabdil, was taken prisoner and held for a while at the Tower of Castillo del Moral, is of historical importance.

The past is evident in many vestiges, from the Cave of the Angel on the hillside of the Sierra de Aras, one of the best Palaeolithic sites in Europe; the Iberian-Roman city of Morana, south of the municipality and near the Anzur river, as well the Roman site of Los Tejares, a set of pottery kilns from an ancient ceramics factory that has been partly restored.

Until the Islamic era, the actual location where the city of Lucena is today remains uncertain. The urban centre developed between the 9th and 13th centuries, with a small medina, protected by a walled enclosure and several towers, and a large suburb to the east. The 16th century saw the demographic explosion of Lucena – and thus the development of the urban centre – growing from some 1500 inhabitants in 1495 to over 15,000 in 1550, the date as of which it gained its supremacy in the province second only to the capital. It was granted the rank of city by Philip II in 1618.

The economic growth of the 18th century made Lucena one of the great baroque cities of Andalusia.

The weather in Lucena

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Panoramic view of the city of Lucena

Location



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Andalucía,
Córdoba,
Lucena

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