The Ancient Jaen Arab Baths: Soak up History

So, what’s the deal with these Arab Baths, you ask?

If you’ve seen those in Granada, or other places, you might think they all look the same – just like I did before I visited those in Jaen.

The Jaen Arab Baths are actually the largest preserved baths of their kind in Spain, with a surface area of 450m² . Not to mention, they’re underneath a palace! They are the hidden treasure under the Villardompardo Palace, which also houses museums dedicated to popular arts and traditions.

So, there’s a lot to soak in here (pun totally intended).

Jaen Arab Baths, Spain

The Palacio de Villardompardo isn’t just a fancy palace; it’s also a hub for culture these days, known as the Villardompardo Palace Cultural Center.

The baths date back to the 11th century (1002 AD).

After the Reconquista, the place became a tannery and later got buried under the palace when the Conde de Villardompardo decided to build his swanky residence in the 16th century. They rediscovered the baths in 1913 and gave them a facelift between 1970 and 1984.

Let me take you for a little virtual tour.

Palacio de Villardompardo

The entrance to the baths is through the cultural center, which is located on a small unsuspecting square.

For such an important historic location, I was expecting to find at least a small cafe at the square, but apart from a dead bird in the dirty fountain, there wasn’t any sign of life anywhere near.

The two ladies at the reception didn’t speak any English, but were indicated that the museum sections were off-limits when it came to photography. The entrance was free, which was a nice bonus.

Jaen Arab Baths, Spain
Jaen Arab Baths, Spain
Jaen Arab Baths, Spain

The Three Rooms at Jaen Arab Baths

The Arab Baths are divided into three main sections, each with its own purpose.

First up is the “cold room,” where you’d initially chill out—literally—before moving on to the other areas.

Next is the “warm room,” which is like the Goldilocks of bath sections, not too hot and not too cold.

Finally, you hit the “hot room,” which is where you’d get all steamy and sweaty before splashing yourself with cold water to close out the pores.

As soon as you walk in, you will notice the sheer size of the space – these baths are massive compared to anything I’ve seen before.

They are also beautifully restored, I would say closest to the original condition I’ve seen.

Jaen Arab Baths, Spain
Jaen Arab Baths, Spain
Jaen Arab Baths, Spain
Jaen Arab Baths, Spain
Jaen Arab Baths, Spain
Jaen Arab Baths, Spain
Jaen Arab Baths, Spain
Jaen Arab Baths, Spain

Are the Jaen Arab Baths Worth Visiting?

If you’re staying in Jaen for a least a full day, I think the baths are worth squeezing into your itinerary.

While there is not much to see inside, if you haven’t seen any Arab Baths before, it will be certainly an experience to remember.

Visit Details for Jaen Arab Baths

Location: Plaza Santa Luisa de Marillac, Jaen

Entrance fee: free

Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 09:00-22:00hrs and Sunday, 09:00-15:00hrs

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