Palace Castle of Canena

c/ Castillo, 7. 23420 Canena. Jaén.

Cultural Visit

References to its importance as a monument or site of cultural interest 

The Canena Castle, erected by the Arabs on top of a Roman settlement, became a fortress of the Order of Calatrava during the reconquista. In 1538 it was acquired by Don Francisco de los Cobos, the Secretary of State to Charles V, who transformed it into a Castle Palace, lodging the Emperor himself under its roof. 

The Canena Castle is one of the most important ones in Andalusia, and is the most emblematic building in the town of Canena, which is built around it. Though by the 16th C. the military architecture of the region no longer had a function as such, this fortress—dating back to before the 13th C.—was restored and transformed into a palace by Francisco de los Cobos, the great Renaissance patron of the Úbeda region. Andrés de Vandelvira (1509-1575) supervised the construction. 

Located in the rich Guadalquivir Valley and near Úbeda and Baeza (both World Heritage cities), the Canena Castle was declared a National Monument in 1931. It is privately owned and lends its name to the family business of its owners (Castillo de Canena Extra Virgin Olive Oil). 

 

Brief summary of the castle’s artistic and historical heritage 

The Canena Castle Palace (Jaén Province, Spain) was built in the 16th C. in the Spanish Renaissance style by the architect Andrés de Vandelvira (1509-1575). It belonged to Francisco de los Cobos and was mentioned by the Marques de Santillana in one of his famous serranillas, or short poems. 

The building as it stands today was built in the 17th Century. It has an extraordinary interior courtyard, the second floor of which is ringed with a balustrade with Ionic columns, upon which rest beautiful architraves. It is now the private property of the Vañó family.

In 1538 Francisco de los Cobos, Secretary of State to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and a great patron of Renaissance arts in Úbeda and its surroundings, bought the Canena villa. The property became part of his extensive domains, which after his death were administered by his wife Doña María de Mendoza and her descendants, the Marquis of Camarasa. In Canena this great patron of the arts left us one of his greatest undertakings: the transformation of the castle into a sumptuous palace, designed and executed by Andrés de Vandelvira.

The Canena Castle is solidly built on a square plan, with two great circular towers that protect the corners of its main face and two smaller towers on the back side. The keep is in the center of the edifice. The whole castle was formerly surrounded by a moat—now filled in— and is equipped with a drawbridge.

The portal is a round arch flanked by Corinthian pilasters on plinths, with a frieze entablature decorated with grotesques and a cornice upon which another arch is raised. In the tympanum of this arch appears the coat of arms of the palace’s founders, with fantastic supporters at each side. The arch is crowned with stone torches and one can see the grooves for raising the drawbridge.

The interior courtyard is in Renaissance good taste, with a double loggia and a cloister stairway. The lower level is comprised of round arches with ornate keystones and relief medallions placed on alternate spandrels. The upper gallery has the peculiar feature of large ornate abacuses over the columns, which themselves rest on plinths decorated with military motifs, ringed by a stone balustrade.

Schedule

  • Usually, Mondays: 16:00 to 19:00
  • Acording to the activity, scheudule will be agreed on previously.

Location

Address:
  • Castillo St., 7.  23420 Canena.  Jaén.
How to get there:

From Jaén:

  • Continue through A-316 y N-322 to Calle Remedios.
  • On the roundabout, take the 4th exit and go to A-316
  • On the roundabout, take the 4th exit and go to N-322
  • On the roundabout, take the 2nd exit with direction to Ctra. Córdoba-Valencia/N-322

From Córdoba

  • From E-902/A-44
  • Take exit 3 to A-32, with direction to Bailén/N-322/Linares/Albacete/Úbeda
  • On the roundabout, take the 3rd exit and go to A-32 with direction to Linares/Albacete
  • Go to N-322 with direction to Calle Remedios.
  • On the roundabout, take the 4th exit.
  • On the roundabout, take the first exit with direction to n N-322
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