Jaén, a cathedral, a square, a 21st century work of art


In the historic center of Jaen, the architect Salvador Perez Arroyo, following the pure Castillan tradition of a plaza mayor submitted an innovative design for a square that sublimates the magnificent Renaissance facade of the Santa Maria cathedral, built on the site of a former mosque.

A brilliant example of 21st century Andalousian town planning: a long series of debates took place before the adoption of this plan for the new agora which might now be considered a model for all city squares.

The luminous cathedral facade soars upward ethereally from an empty space occupied by only seven fountains, illuminated at night, and punctuated by copper paving stones set out in the rhythm of the pillars in the nave of the church. Also in copper are the rays of an encrusted sun dial. The square has been paved in black Portuguese granite.

The abundant play of water effectively counterbalances the heat prevalent during certain months, thereby making the square a convivial, pleasant venue for the traditional paseo.


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