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It was a day full of surprises, which is good if you embark on a mystery tour. The biggest surprise of the day was that we ended up in Baza and that there were so many interesting things to see.
Our guide for the morning walk through Baza’s history was Miguel, a self-deprecating, but funny, knowledgeable and very pleasant man. Our Historic stroll, took us past wooden balconied houses (XVIc) in the neighbourhood of San Juan, the Plaza de los Moriscos, the Cascamorras Fountain and the Golden Pipes (XVIIc). We saw the Cloister of the Convent of Santo Domingo (XVIIc), the Old Butchers (XVIc), and the remains of the wall and Moorish towers, as we moved through the Plaza Mayor and Santiago neighbourhood.
Baza was under Islamic rule (713-1489), and now like many major cities the mosques were eventually built over with Christian structures. Under the Moors, Baza was an important frontier post along the border with the kingdom of Murcia. It was also a major commercial centre, with a population upward of 50,000, making it one of the three most important cities in the Kingdom of Granada. In 1489, during the Granada War, the city fell to Queen Isabella I of Castile, after a stubborn defence lasting seven months. The cannons still adorn the Alameda.
The Dama de Baza was the highlight of the Iberian Art & Archaeological Museum, which consists of 7 rooms spread between two beautiful sixteenth-century buildings over 1,200 square meters.
Our next port of call was the Arab Baths (XIIIc), located in the old Arab suburb of Marzuela, being one the best preserved in the nation. Over the years they had been used as public toilets, a pigsty, stables a winery and a woodshed.
Miguel left us to make our way by coach to the modern Jabalcón winery, where his “twin brother” greeted us for a tour and tasting of three wines and local entremeses.
Another mystery was where our lunch was to be as we hit the autovia heading towards Guadix passing every exit on the way. We eventually reached the Restaurant Romeral, which although part of a motorway services was really nicely decked out for our lunch. Everyone was especially pleased to meet Miguel’s “other brother” who was a spitting image of the other two and was an excellent waiter and host.