Recovery of the arab baths, Jaen

Jaén, Jaén, Andalucía.

Dating of the building: 11th and 16th century.

Applicant: Government Delegation in Jaen.

Reason for the award :

For the very challenging and complicated work that resulted in the discovery of all the baths, which for 200 years had been used as a charcoal pit.

The works in the basement of the Villardompardo palace revealed the extraordinary importance of the old Arab Baths of Jaen, the largest and best-preserved in Spanish territory.

The importance of the Arab baths in Jaen resides in the fact that they are the largest and best-preserved in Spain. Built during the first half of the 11th century, they served as the foundations and warehouses for the Villardompardo palace, built on its walls by Don Fernando de Torres and Portugal between 1585 and 1592. The whole complex was declared a National Monument in 1917. The first phase of the refurbishing, begun in 1931, was interrupted only  because of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1970 the General Directorate of Fine Arts commissioned the total restoration of the building, with the consequent discovery that the baths were much more important than previously thought. The restoration of the underground baths was accompanied by the conversion of the rest of the building into the Museum of Popular Arts and the Museum of Naive Painting.

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