What to do and what to see in Andújar

Andújar is a municipality of Jaén, which is located in the region of the Campiña de Jaén, right at the foot of Sierra Morena. It is included in the Sierra de Andújar Natural Park, being north of the east.

It has an area of almost 965 km2 and the Guadalquivir River passes through its lands. The bordering towns of Andújar are part of the provinces of Jaén, Córdoba and Ciudad Real.

History of Andújar

According to found remains, the presence of human life in Andújar is from the Paleolithic, however, it is not until the Neolithic and the Bronze Age when the population level intensifies. This is due to the development of agriculture in the lands of Andújar and mining in Sierra Morena.

The first towns that settled in Andújar were those of the oretanos, founding near Andújar a settlement under the name of Isturgi. These were in contact with different civilizations and, with the arrival of the Romans, continued to maintain the name of Isturgi. It was not until the arrival of the Arabs in the year 711 after the Battle of Guadalete when the population moved to the location of the current Andújar, then coining the name of Anduyar.

In the year 1225, the Emir of Baeza, Al-Bayyasi, delivered to Fernando III the castles of Andújar and Martos. He entrusted Andújar y Martos to Álvaro Pérez de Castro "el Castellano". Since then Andújar became a meeting place for the Christian armies fighting in Sierra Morena.

The Muslims left Andújar, Martos and Baeza at the end of 1226, arriving Christian settlers at the time when Álvaro Pérez de Castro "el Castellano" was reinforced by Tello Alfonso de Meneses.

In 1808, after conquering Córdoba, General Dupont established the headquarters of the French army in Andújar. These troops were sent to Bailén, where Dupont lost the battle.

In 1835, the first Central Sovereignty Board of Andalusia was established in Andújar, a pioneer in the Andalusian autonomist movement and which made Andújar the capital at that time of the Andalusia that today exists.

In the Civil War, Andújar was first on the Republican side until he finally fell into Francoist forces.

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What to see in Andújar

Andújar has an extensive heritage, whether of religious, civil architecture or singular elements. Among the religious buildings of Andújar you can see:

Church of Saint María: It is built on an old mosque and is known as the Church of Saint María the Mayor, a title that makes it stand out from the rest of Andújar's religious buildings. It is from the 15th century with a Gothic style, its tower was completed in 1467 and is very similar to the Clock Tower that is nearby.

Church of Saint Miguel: It is said to be the oldest temple in Andújar. It is the only church in Andújar that was linked to the bishopric of Toledo and not to that of Baeza like the others. Its origin seems to be prior to the Church of Saint María, although it is established in the same century and, therefore, it is of Gothic style, with a basilica plan with three naves articulated in five sections. In this church you can also see some question solutions.

Chapel of the Christ of the Agony: This neo-Gothic chapel between 1923 and 1925 was built by the hand of the mayor of Andújar of the moment, with the idea that it would serve as a private crypt for him and his wife.

Church of Saint Marina: In the place where it is located it is believed that a mosque previously existed and that, when Fernando III conquered Andújar, it became a Christian temple. It was a parish until 1843 and in 1994 the bishopric gave it to the City Council for cultural use with the obligation to restore it. Inside it housed a Virgin of Carmen and the Christ of Battles, but they were destroyed during the Civil War.

Church of Santiago: He was part of the Andújar parishioner until in 1842 he began to depend on the Church of Saint María along with the Church of Saint Marina. In 1896 the Servants of María, who were responsible for the maintenance and care of the temple, were established next to the temple. At present it has no religious function and underwent a restoration in 1986 carried out by the Junta de Andalucía.

Former Jesuit Convent: This former convent occupied by Jesuits was used as a convent house and teaching school in Andújar since 1620. However, in 1844 it began its function as a Military Hospital, to become a Municipal Hospital a few years later. As of 1869, the hospital entered into the obligation to attend to the sick people of the surrounding towns, reason why in 1871 it began to be Provincial Hospital. It still has this function although in a reduced way.

Convent of Jesús María: It is very close to the Picture of the Virgin in Andújar. This convent was very damaged during the Civil War and the reconstruction that was carried out was quite disastrous. However, in 1990 the City Council approved a project to give it its initial Mudejar appearance, mainly using brick.

You will also find within the religious architecture of Andújar, the Old Convent of Capuchinas, the Church of Saint Bartolomé, the Convent of Saint Juan de Dios, the Hermitage of the Virgen de la Cabeza, the Church of the Divine Shepherdess, the Royal Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Head, the Convent of the Immaculate Conception or the Trinitarian Convent.

Once the religious architecture of Andújar is finished, we recommend the following list of civil architecture buildings.

Palace of the children of Don Gome: Belonging to the lineage of the Cárdenas and Valdivia, it dates from the late 16th and early 17th centuries. This palace has been the result of legends for the reason that its main door was blinded until the early twentieth century. The lineage of the Cárdenas and Valdivia was the most influential in Andújar. It currently houses the Professor Sotomayor Archaeological Museum.

House of Mr. José Serrano Argote: It is also known as House Coello of Portugal. It is an 18th century building. In 1931, due to its state of unemployment, the City Council of Andújar put in it the College of Second Education in the eighties become a Center for Permanent Education, known as the "Pedro Escavias" Adult Education Center. Various modifications have been made to rehabilitate it.

House of the Cárdenas and Valdivia: Located on Maestra Street of Andújar since the 16th century and from which only its viewing tower remains. Since 1987 it is owned by the City Council and now there is the Department of Environment and Youth of Andújar.

Andújar Municipal Palace: In it is the main headquarters of the City Council of Andújar. It was built between 1620 and 1631 with the function of House of Comedies, a function that it maintained until 1680. During its history this building has undergone different renovations.

Other palaces and houses of interest that you can appreciate in Andújar and learn about its history and characteristics are the House of Albarracín, the Municipal House of Culture, the Palace of Serventes de Mieres, the Palace of Cárdenas, the Palace of Seconds of Cárdenas, the Palace of Los Pérez de Vargas and Gormaz, the House of the Ecijano, the House Cuna and the House Lobatón.

Finally, the following are unique elements of Andújar:

Baroque Fountain: This fountain, moved from site on numerous occasions, was commissioned by the City Council of Andújar to José Gallego and finished being built in the year 1739. Its first location was in the Market Square, next to the Convent of Saint Francisco and from there it provided water to the population of Andújar, since its water was of better quality than that of the Guadalquivir River. At the end of the 19th century he moved to Altozano de la Victoria Street, but the cause is not known with certainty. Later, it was thought that it would be more appropriate to place it in a more central place within Andújar, so the Queen Victoria Square, but this was not popularly accepted. Once the Civil War was over, it was located at the site that is currently, the Beato Criado Square, next to the Church of Saint Miguel.

Clock Tower: This is a crenellated tower that is built with rows of stone and brick, with a viewpoint at the top and that has a clock under the viewpoint. It dates from the 16th century and was attached to the Andújar prison. It is undoubtedly one of the most representative elements of Andújar.

Urban Wall of Andújar: It is an Arab wall of the ninth century and was aimed at protecting the city of Andújar. To her belongs the Tower of the Fuente Sorda.

Tower of the Fuente Sorda: Tower of the wall of Andújar that was reinforced in the fifteenth century and is still standing.

Roman Bridge of Andújar: Bridge that is situated on the Guadalquivir river since the second century in the Roman era of Andújar. It has undergone three major renovations in the fifteenth, seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.

Bullring: It was built in 1898 with a neo-Arab cover. It is included in a series of constructions with Andalusian motif that were made in Andújar between the 19th and 20th centuries.

Apart from these monuments, Andújar has other interesting monuments that you may want to include in your visit such as the Carlos III Arch, the Food Market and the Lola's Hall, former Tivoli Cinema.

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What to do in Andújar

In Andújar there is no time for boredom, you can always do something, either by growing in one of its museums, appreciating the beauty of the city on one of its urban routes or enjoying the natural environment in the Sierra de Andújar Natural Park.

Regarding the Andújar museums, you will find four quite interesting and with different themes.

Professor Sotomayor Archaeological Museum: This museum will take you on an entertaining journey through the history of Andújar through the different cultures that have been settled in their lands.

Plastic Arts "Antonio González Orea" Museum: It is located in the Old Convent of Capuchinas and shows the work of the sculptor of Andújar, Antonio González Orea, present in different parts of the world. It also houses sculptures of other teachers.

House of the Alfarero: In the basement of the Palace of Children of Don Gome this museum is located in which you can immerse yourself in the whole pottery tradition of Andújar and understand all its characteristics and times of greater splendor.

Mariano Virgin of the Head Museum: This Andújar museum is located in the Royal Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Head and through three rooms will show you the artistic, documentary and anthropological sample of the legacy that the devotion to the Virgin of the Head has originated.

There are three routes in Andújar to make through the town center following a specific theme.

Route of the squares: This route runs through the Saint María Square and the España Square contemplating the different buildings and points of interest of the Andújar heritage found in them.

Route of manor houses and palaces: Also in order that you can contemplate the different monuments of the heritage of Andújar within the city walls. This route has its route from east to west of the interior of the wall in Andújar and the main attraction is the different houses and palaces that you can see in its course.

Route outside the walls: This last route that goes beyond the walls of Andújar will allow you to visit and appreciate different buildings of religious architecture in Andújar.

If you are a nature lover and what interests you is to be in contact with her on your visit to Andújar, in the immediate vicinity you will find the Sierra de Andújar Natural Park. It is located right in Sierra Morena and inside it contains endangered species such as the Iberian lynx, the wolf or the imperial eagle. Inside the natural park is also the Royal Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the Head. You can also enjoy some of the activities we can find, such as big game, fishing, water sports, hiking, pilgrimages, mountain biking, stargazing, horseback riding, listening to the bellow, paintball, archery or balloon ride, among others.

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Traditional festivals and celebrations in Andújar

Another thing not, but in Andújar you can enjoy an extensive calendar marked with important dates to celebrate throughout the year.

Candelaria Festival: Held on February 2 and in which the neighbors of Andújar make candles and contests.

Holy Week: Considered as the great week in Andújar, where one lives with devotion. It highlights both the artistic and cultural value of the images used.

Pilgrimage of the Virgin of the Head: It is celebrated on the last Sunday of April and has been celebrated since the thirteenth century. It is considered one of the oldest pilgrimages in Spain. This pilgrimage is celebrated throughout the weekend although Sunday is the day on which the virgin walks and all the inhabitants of Andújar and their visitors crowd their paths. In May the Transfer of the Virgin of the Head is celebrated from its chapel to the Church of Saint Miguel.

Feast of the Divine Shepherdess: It is the oldest and most popular festival in Andújar and is celebrated by Pentecost. In this party the Virgin Mary is processed in her invocation as Divine Shepherdess.

Andújar Fair: It has its origin in 1801 and is celebrated the second week of September. Different booths are mounted in the Andújar fairgrounds and different activities are held.

Procession of the Immaculate: On December 8 the image of the virgin is processed through the streets of Andújar by the brotherhoods and brotherhoods and is accompanied by citizens who live it with devotion.

Other festivals of interest in Andújar are the Three Kings Parade, the Carnivals, the May Crosses, the Patronal Feast in honor of Saint Eufrasio, the Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Virgin of the Carmen, the Feast of Santiago Apostle, the Feast of the Apparition of the Virgin of the Head, All Saints Day, the Feast of Saint Cecilia and Christmas.

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Gastronomy of Andújar

The typical cuisine of Andújar is around extra virgin olive oil. The most typical dish that you can find is the meat of the bush, although you can also taste delicacies such as pickled partridge, scrambled with wild asparagus, flamenquín, crumbs, salmorejo, ajoblanco, alboronia, asparagus in sauce or "aliñás" olives. On the other hand, among the desserts you will find porridge, "perrunas" and pestiños.

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