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Jaén

Jaén is a city in the south of Spain and the capital of the province Jaén.

Jaén is the world’s capital of olive oil, because it is the biggest producer of "this golden liquid", as the locals use to say. The town got its name from the Arab word jayyan, which means crossing roads. The city is located in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains and has many steep and narrow streets, especially in the historic center.

The Palacio de Villardompardo is from the 16th century and houses two art museums. During the 20th century Arab baths were discovered under the palace dating back to the 11th century. The baths have been restored and can be visited.

The Jaén province has the largest protected area in Spain. The vast wilderness of the Cazorla Natural Park a nature reserve with rocky peaks that tower high above the dense pine forests.

There are also the forests of the Sierra de Andújar and Despeñaperros natural parks. These parks offer a refuge for lynx and wolves. You can use Jaén city as a base for nature hikes. The parks are the perfect environment for long walks, cycling, swimming, canoeing, climbing and fishing.

For a night of Andalusian flamenco, go uphill from the cathedral to the Peña Flamenca Jaén. Artists perform on a wooden stage adorned with regional artifacts. The bar supplies drinks and tapas.

As Jaén produces a lot of olive oil it is generously used in its cuisine. The popular local dish is the ajilimoje, a mix of oil, vinegar, potatoes and chilies, spread on a good piece of bread. Game is also widely used in the area just like lamb, beef, goat and pork. The province produces excellent cheeses as well, so do not forget to taste at least a few of them.

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