The Rich and Ancient Heritage of Baza

  • Post Author:
  • Post Category:Blog

Baza is the capital of the northern part of the province of Granada, and festivals take place here that are unique in Spain, such as the famous Cascamorras. Archaeological remains tell us that man has lived here since prehistoric times. The well-known Dama de Baza was found in one of the Iberian burial sites in the area, and the Moorish baths are among the most complete in the country.

Baza is believed to be one of the oldest of all human settlements in Spain. The town and its surrounding area has a rich and diverse architectural, historical and archaeological heritage, having been home to many different cultures down the centuries and back to pre-historic times. Its town center was declared a Historic Center in 2003, and in its narrow winding streets, especially around the walled medina area where the Alcazaba was built, we can see many remains of this rich and ancient past.

Approximately 20,000 people live in the municipality, located to the north of the province of Granada. Its archaeological sites, such as the Iberian-Roman town of Basti and its ancient burial sites, in one of which was discovered the famous Dama de Baza, and its Moorish Baths all make this one of the most important archaeological and historical towns in Andalucia.

From the point of view of the environment, Baza offers a contrast of landscape which ranges from its mountain range, declared a Nature Park in 1989, to almost desert landscapes in the area known as the Altiplanicie, with an oasis of green between the two, which is La Vega. But the region is also known far and wide for its own particular type of domestic architecture, which is the house cave. Many of these ancient dwellings, which were used in the past by farmers, cattle breeders and miners, have now been adapted for rural tourism.

Baza has an important architectural, archaeological and historical heritage, the result of the many different peoples who lived in this area over the centuries, ah of what left something of their culture behind them. Although little remains of the Alcazaba de Baza these days other than sections of wall and sore towers, in its day it was an impregnable fortress. Its walls were built in three phases: the first in the 11th and 12th centuries, the second in the time of the Nazari occupation and the third by the Christians in the 16th century. It is located in the heart of the old town center, dominated by the old medina.

The palacio de los Enriques is a magnificent example of a Renaissance palace designed in the style of an Italian country villa, and as such it is unique in all of Andalucia. It was ordered built by Enrique Enriquez and his wife Maria de Luna, aunt and uncle of the Catholic Monarchs. Work on the palace began in 1506, and since then it has been extensively restored. Inside can be seen sorne excellent examples of Mudejar armoury, all extensely decorated with Renaissance motifs.

The Real Posito was built in 1762, during the reign of Carlos III, and it still preserves its beautiful patio surrounded by galleries. On the main entrance we can see the royal coat-of-arms and that of the corregidor (the local chiefmagistrate) and the mayor. Inside, besides being a grain store, works of theater are also held. This was also once the headquarters of the Economic Society of Friends of the Baza Country during the last quarter of the 18th century. The Moorish Baths in the town are particularly well preserved, dating back to the 13th century. They are a magnificent example of urban baths of the period, located adjacent to the mosque in the old area of ​​Marzuela (the present barrio of Santiago). A visit to the Moorish Baths is a must for any visitor to the town.

As one would expect, there are numerous churches in the town, the most outstanding being the Iglesia Mayor Colegiata. One should also see a monumental fountain located close to the Puerta del Peso, on the royal Lorca road, which was designed in the form of lion and human heads. There are many local festivals throughout the year in the town, the most outstanding of them being the Festival of El Cascamorras. It was declared to be of National Tourist Interest in 2006, and begins every year on September 6, from six in the evening, kicking off what has become one of the most popular traditional festivals in the entire region.

Source by Rudi Van Der Zalm