Palace of Jabalquinto
Opposite the Church of Santa Cruz stands the Palace of Jabalquinto, one of the greatest exponents of the Elizabethan or late Gothic style. Located in the town center of Baeza, it forms an inescapable monumental trio together with the aforementioned church and the main headquarters of the old university. Juan Alfonso Benavides Manrique, lord of Jabalquinto and second cousin of Fernando el Católico, had it built at the end of the 15th century.
During the Reconquest, Baeza became the home of many nobles who were rewarded by the Crown for their military campaigns. This is how the Benavides family arrived from León, who obtained the lordship of Jabalquinto, which gives its name to this palace.
Elizabethan Gothic is found on the exterior façade, the work of Juan Guas, through decoration based on diamond points, pineapple nails, fronds, rosettes, bows, pinnacles, muqarnas, and heraldic shields. On this façade, two different projects can be distinguished: two Plateresque floors and a Renaissance gallery. A multitude of decorations among which to immerse yourself and discover all kinds of details.
The main door of the palace has an ogee arch, through which trunks climb 14 figures of children or little men. Above are four mullioned windows with small marble columns. And on them are eight coats of arms, four of the Lord of Jabalquinto (where the lion has much prominence), and four of his wife, Doña Beatriz de Valencia. The façade is topped by five semicircular arches from the Renaissance period.
The courtyard of the Jabalquinto Palace is also Renaissance, although late since it was built almost a century after the façade. Some attribute its design to the architect Andrés Vandelvira, who was in the city while working for the Benavides family, even though there is no documentary evidence that he did it in the palace. The space is formed by a double semicircular arch with Corinthian marble columns and capitals. The monumental staircase is fully baroque, with a triumphal arch as access and a beautiful dome as a roof. The neoclassical garden is also unmissable, especially during the flowering period due to its beautiful rose bushes.
The palace ceased to be a stately residence in 1720 when it was ceded to the conciliar seminary of San Felipe Neri. Until the 1970´s it was used as a Colegio Menor. Later it was the headquarters of the Baeza Heritage Rehabilitation Workshop School. Declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931, the Jabalquinto Palace is one of the most important Flamboyant Gothic buildings in the city. Today it is the Antonio Machado headquarters of the International University of Andalusia.
By the by, Jabalquinto is a Jaen town in Sierra Morena, 38 kilometers north of the provincial capital.