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Plaza del Pópulo / Plaza de los Leones( The…

As with the Plaza de Santa María, Federico García Lorca describes the Plaza del Pópulo or de los Leones in an admired and somber way, lamenting the abandonment in which it is found.


(…) In a serene square, which has an elegant but mutilated and shattered little palace, a graceful altar with rag flowers next to the aristocratic seriousness of a triumphal arch with a warrior’s air, and a fountain with lions blurred in the stone ( …)

The Plaza del Populo was one of the most important squares in Baeza, which housed the main public buildings. In this square there were institutions such as the Old Butchers -current seat of the courts-, the Civil Court and Public Notaries or Pópulo House -current Tourist Office-, the Arch of Villalar, the Puerta de Jaén or the Fuente de los Leones , named for the ornamental elements in the shape of a lion from which the water gushed out and that apparently come from the Ibero-Roman ruins of Cástulo, which today is in question, because for experts in Iberian sculpture its siliceous stone carving and its formal appearance suggest a much more modern chronology.

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«Santísima Trinidad» Institute of Baeza

The “Santísima Trinidad” Institute of Baeza is where Machado takes possession of the French language chair, then called the General and Technical Institute.

The institute belongs to the Lorca itinerary because it was an obligatory meeting point on Martín Domínguez Berrueta’s study trips to Baeza, as evidenced by photographs by the professor of Theory of Arts and Literature at the University of Granada. Leopoldo Urquía, director of the institute with his daughter Paquita, whose sister Lorca dedicates Ciudad Perdida to, also appears in some of them. Thus, the young Lorca visited the Institute on his study trips.

The Institute, which currently belongs to the Andalusian Historical Educational Institutes Network, is located in the former Renaissance headquarters of the old University of Baeza. It still conserves intact the classroom where Machado taught his classes and in which furniture, belongings and documentation related to the life of the Sevillian poet as a teacher are exposed: old desks, teacher’s chair with brazier, wooden coat rack, umbrella …

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Jabalquinto palace

The Jabalquinto Palace belongs to the interesting Lorca itinerary because it was one of the spaces visited by Federico García Lorca in Baeza, as specified by Rafael Laínez Alcalá, Machado’s student at the General and Technical Institute:

“(…) I saw a group of strangers accompanied by the archpriest of the Baezana cathedral (…) who were contemplating the façade of the Seminary, the old palace of Jabalquinto (…) Among the boys (…) Federico García Lorca, whom a few years later I would meet in Madrid. (…) “

At that time, the Palace belonged to the Seminary of San Felipe Neri, where future priests were trained. It is currently the headquarters of the International University of Andalusia (UNIA), an institution to support the Andalusian science and technology system in postgraduate training, research, knowledge transfer, digitization, permanent training and internationalization. In homage to Antonio Machado, the UNIA headquarters in Baeza bears his name. The UNIA is based in two buildings: the Old Conciliar Seminary, a baroque building located in the Plaza de Santa María, opposite the Cathedral and the Renaissance Jabalquinto Palace, a benchmark of the Renaissance civil architecture of Baeza, with an impressive main façade with Elizabethan Gothic decoration, beautiful windows and prominent diamond points.

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Old artisan Casino

Undoubtedly, one of the places with the greatest literary impact in Lorca’s life. This is where his encounter with Machado occurred, when he was still more a musician than a writer. This event would mark his artistic orientation towards letters and will make him one of the most universal poets in our literature.

On June 8, 1916, a soiree was organized, in which Machado recited verses by Rubén Darío – who had died months before – and fragments of La Tierra de Alvargonzález for the travelers, while Lorca played Andalusian pieces on the piano such as the Danza de la Vida Breve of Falla. In this recital he met María del Reposo Urquía, who also performs some pieces.

Antonio Chicharro, in the collaboration that he makes in the book tribute to the centenary of Machado’s arrival in Baeza One Hundred Years of the Antonio Machado y Baeza Encounter or the Celebration of Poetry as an Essential Word in Time, indicates that this meeting also meant the beginning of a respectful friendship between Antonio Machado and the young García Lorca, underlined in a poem signed in 1918 by the young student from Granada in the first pages of a book borrowed from the first edition of Poesías Completas de Antonio Machado:

I would leave my

whole soul in this book.

This book that has seen

the landscapes with me

and lived holy hours.

The echoes of this meeting were also to materialize in the first poem he wrote, according to his brother Francisco García Lorca, dated June 1917: Song. Dreaming and Confusion, in a prominent Rubenian style.

Song. Daydreaming and Confusion


Here comes the dusky soundless night

here comes the brazen, splendid flesh

here comes the sweet ecstasy bliss

But alas! death came and sorrow followed.(…)

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Cathedral, Square and Fountain of Santa María

The space that makes up the Cathedral of Baeza, the square and the fountain of Santa María are main elements in Federico García Lorca’s description of the city in Lost City (“Ciudad Perdida”).

Plaza de Santa María is the one that contains part of the main buildings of interest such as the Cathedral itself, the Palace of Jabalquinto or the old Town Hall.


This square, an impressive romantic expression where antiquity displays its ancestry of melancholy, a place of retreat, of peace, of manly sadness, was planned to be desecrated when I visited Baeza.


Besides, Santa María fountain, which takes the name of the square and which, together with the fountain of the Lions in the Plaza del Pópulo, is the most emblematic of Baeza. Built in the Renaissance style by the middle of the 16th century, it has a lower body made up of three openings, together with a columnar structure with two fronts, where the coat of arms of Felipe II can be seen.


At its center a source of pagan severity, it looks like the final body of a triumphal arch that the earth has swallowed up.


Finally, the Cathedral of Baeza, an Asset of Cultural Interest since 1931 and which has been erected over successive buildings: a Roman temple, later a mosque, until its conversion to Christian worship in the 13th century.

Since then, it has undergone numerous architectural transformations to its current state, with multiple elements from different periods, such as the Moon Gate (Puerta de la Luna), in the Gothic-Mudejar style; the Absolution Gate (Puerta del Perdón), in the Gothic style; or the main facade, which is in the Renaissance style, which is its most dominant character. Andrés de Vandelvira collaborated in the Renaissance reform.

The interior of the Cathedral of Baeza also presents different styles, with Gothic pillars, ribbed vaults, Renaissance grills, Mudejar chapels and Renaissance chapels, as well as the main altarpiece, in the Baroque style. The Cathedral Museum also preserves pieces of great value and recognized prestige


I Baeza


The cathedral covers the square with its shadow, and scents it with its smell of incense and wax that seeps through its walls as a reminder of holiness.


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Jaén´s landscape

The encounter with the landscape of Jaén and its people surprised the young Lorca, accustomed to the flat fertility of the gardens and plains of Granada. Undoubtedly, this landscape clearly influenced him during his long peri-urban walks along the Cerro del Alcázar, on the remains of the old wall. A place that Machado also frequented assiduously.

The display offered by the skyline of “blue mountains, in which the towns shine their diamond whiteness of faded light”, in clear reference to the Aznaitín and Mágina massifs, will leave a mark on his work, as explained below:


I Baeza

(…) If you walk further, the grasslands are so strong that they swallow up the stones on the ground, anxiously licking the walls …, and if we cross a few more alleys, we can contemplate the majestic symphony of a splendid landscape. An immense basin surrounded by blue mountains, in which the towns shine their diamond whiteness of faded light. Shady and brave chords of olive groves contrast with the sierras, which are deep purple on the skirts. (…)