March 3, 2013

0537, 0538 SPAIN (Andalusia) - Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza (UNESCO WHS)

0537 The Former Cathedral of Baeza

Úbeda and Baeza are two small towns, some 10 km from each other, located on the northern slopes of the valley of the Guadalquivir River, between the regions of Castile and Andalusia. After the Moorish conquest from the 8th century, they became fortresses, and were recovered by the Christians in the first half of the 13th century. Both towns prospered for a time in the 16th century, due to the production of textiles. They are an exceptional example of the distribution of urban functions, so that the sum of the monumental site of Baeza (public, ecclesiastic and educational) and of Úbeda (aristocratic and palaces) make up a complete Renaissance urban scheme of high architectural quality.

0538 El Salvador Chapel in Úbeda

The 16th-century examples of architectural and urban design in Úbeda and Baeza were instrumental in introducing the Italian Renaissance ideas to Spain (even if their origins had been in the Islamic period), and through the publications of Andrés de Vandelvira, the principal project architect, these examples were diffused to Latin America. The dominant reference point in Baeza is the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady, built above a former Moorish mosque, converted to the Christian rite by King Alfonso VII of Castile in 1147, become again mosque and restored one more time to Christianity in 1227 by Ferdinand III of Castile.

The apse still maintains Gothic tracery, but in the 16th-century a major reconstruction by Andres de Valdelvira in Renaissance-style created the present church. The most ancient part of it are the lower part of the bell tower, of cubic shape, and three Islamic arches, now hidden. The tower was remade in 1549 and the Chapel of St. Michael was added in 1560. The Fountain of Santa María occupies a prominent position in the small square facing the cathedral.

Úbeda possesses 48 monuments, which led it to being the second city of renowned Spain Historical, and the most outstanding feature of the city is the monumental Vázquez de Molina Square, surrounded with imposing Renaissance buildings such as the Sacra Capilla de El Salvador del Mundo (Holy Chapel of the Savior of the World - in the second postcard), conceived as a burial place for the Cobos family and built by Diego Siloe. This chapel is considered the most ambitious of all private religious architecture of the Spanish Renaissance.

About the stamps
On the both postcards are stamps belonging to the definitive series with the portrait of the King Juan Carlos I, about which I wrote here.

The other four are (together with a fifth one from another postcard) the complete series named Musical Instruments, issued on April 2, 2012. The instruments featuring in these stamps belong to the Interactive Music Museum of Malaga. The five stamps, all with the same value (0.36€), are: 
• the Harp - It's on the postcard 0538
• the Balalaika - It's on the postcard 0538
• the Banjo - It's on the postcard 0536
• the Sitar - It's on the postcard 0537
• the Rebec - It's on the postcard 0537

This is a post for Sunday Stamps #112, run by Viridian from Viridian’s Postcard Blog. The theme of this week is anything you wish. Click on the button to visit Viridian’s blog and all the other participants.

Baeza - Wikipedia
Úbeda - Wikipedia
Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza - UNESCO official website
Musical Instruments - Correos España official website

Sender 0537, 0538: Juan (direct swap)
Sent from Jaén  (Andalusia / Spain), on 24.01.2013
Photo 0537, 0538: Miguel A. Gomez

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