Jaén, a city and the capital of the province of same name in Andalusia, Spain, is a bustling metropolis, and like many Andalusian towns and cities, its name is of Arabic origin. It comes from the Arabic phrase "khayyaan" or the crossroads of caravans. The city of Jaén had been historically an important city from the Spanish medieval times up to the present.
Though Jaén has the characteristics of many Andalusian towns and cities with steep, narrow streets and houses, buildings, and structures with whitewashed walls and Moorish and Arabic influences, the characteristic of Jaén is that of an old progressive Renaissance city.
The most famous landmarks of Jaén are Castillo de Santa Catalina or Saint Catherine’s Castle and the Jaén Cathedral. The Jaén Cathedral, one of the most important cathedrals in all of Spain, is the largest structure in Jaén and towers the whole city like a defense tower. The style of Jaén Cathedral is Renaissance and its construction spanned for almost three centuries. Castillo de Santa Catalina is located on top of a hill by the Santa Catalina Mountains that overlooks the whole city of Jaén. Castillo de Santa Catalina used to be a Moor fortress that was renovated and improved to look like more of a Christian fortress. The other landmark is the famous Arab Baths, the most important heritage of Moorish occupation and settlement in all of Andalusia. The Arab Baths of Jaén is the largest conserved Arab bath in Spain. Other landmarks include various churches, convents, and museums dedicated to the rich history of Jaén, which has been an important city throughout history, especially to the Kingdom of Castile.
One of the most important commercial products of Jaén is olive oil; the town is known as the “World Capital of Olive Oil” and olive oil in Jaén is known to the locals as “oro liquido” or liquid gold because of its color and high value.
Jaén celebrates various festivals throughout the year. The festivals range from Catholic and Christian with folk and Moorish elements to modern ones. Jaén is an important cultural center that has features a variety of food, music, and sports.
Because Jaén is both a commercial and political center and industrial and administrative capital of the region, it is not difficult to find hostels in Jaén. Jaén hostels vary from high-end luxury to cheap and simple ones.
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