Baeza Town Hall
When this building was created, in 1520 and at the request of Carlos I, the idea was that it would be the city’s jail, since the previous one was in terrible conditions. In 1559 it was extended with the Casa del Corregidor to provide greater security for the complex. It did not house the Baeza Town Hall until 1867, a role it continues to perform to this day. This town hall has been a Site of Cultural Interest since 1917 when it was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument.
It is undoubtedly one of the most notable buildings in Baeza, with its imposing Plateresque-style façade, 37 meters wide by 11 meters high. The door on the left with a semicircular arch is that of the old jail; and the one on the right is that of the old House of Justice, with a segmental arch. Several typical elements of Andrés Vandelvira can be seen on the façade, such as the Venetian windows, although it cannot be guaranteed that they are from the illustrious architect who marked Baez’s heritage so much.
The part destined for the prison is soberer, with representations of justice and charity. “Remember mercy in the midst of justice, because mercy will exalt your judgment,” he reads. In the area of the Casa del Corregidor, there is a rich plateresque decoration, with Corinthian columns adorned with garlands and little angels. Above both doors are the Venetian windows, that is, a semicircular arch flanked by two lintels separated by columns of classical order. Two rosettes flank each arch of the balcony. The triple windows denote the solid classicist training of the architect, hence it will be thought that Vandelvira was able to carry out the project. Between the windows, separated by rows of acanthus leaves, is the heraldic decoration made up of a monumental coat of arms of Philip II with the eagle of Saint John, flanked by the emblems of Corregidor Juan de Borja and Baeza. The three coats of arms present traces of the original polychromy of the time in red and blue tones. The building is crowned by a large cornice or cantilevered eaves of considerable dimensions, in which the great decorative display is based on ova and corbels with small figures of children, sphinxes, eagles, acanthus leaves, corbels, scrolls, festoons, etc.
Inside the Town Hall
The plenary hall has a Renaissance alfarje (horizontal and intertwined wooden ceiling) from the convent of San Antonio. It is worth mentioning the importance of the construction within the Andalusian Plateresque for its Italian components. The main hall stands out, covered with Renaissance plasterwork and with a great presence of the coats of arms of the city and the Benavides family. The staircase consists of three sections with wooden balusters. The entire space is covered with a gallon dome.
The building as a whole has been profoundly remodeled on the occasion of its last restoration, which was completed in 2011. These works made it clear that the Town Hall is divided into three parts. The historic building, where the representative and political part of the consistory is located. The new facilities, with municipal offices and customer service. And a new public space, distributor, and waiting for a place.
In front of the Baeza Town Hall is the house where Antonio Machado lived in the 1910s, just after the poet lost his young wife Leonor. Machado worked as a professor of French at the university and lived through one of his most prolific literary stages.
BAEZA WORLD HERITAGE INTERPRETATION CENTER
Baeza has been a World Heritage Site since 2003 thanks to its great wealth of monuments, history, and culture. The World Heritage Interpretation Center serves to bring the different aspects and singularities of this city closer to the public. Through participation and interactivity and manipulation, cultural spaces are elevated to a more social and collaborative dimension.
The exhibition itinerary allows the visitor to learn about general aspects of the history, geography, or culture of the city, inseparable from the heritage value associated with the Baez Renaissance. The exhibition is divided into several parts. We start with an introductory paper that puts us in a historical and cultural context called Meet Baeza, which will place us in the historical, geographical, and cultural context of the city. Through exhibition panels, text, images, and colors are combined in a dynamic design to convey to the visitor a different vision. The panel on the history of the city, the heritage panel, the Renaissance panel… They all help to understand Baeza in a visual and interactive way. The bust of Andrés de Vandelvira, after pressing one of its sensors located on the face, will tell us who he was and his main and important function in Baeza.
One of the most impressive parts of the center is the Reconstruction of the Renaissance monumental complex of Baeza. Here the scale has been taken into account to make it as real as possible. It is an intelligent typhlological model that works by downloading an application. Audios describe the most important characteristics of each monument.
Other great resources of the center are the World Heritage Chart, the scale reproductions of the great architectural elements of Baeza, the educational puzzle model… Everything in this great interpretation center of the city’s heritage.