Begin your tour at the centrally located Plaza de Vázquez de Molina, the most harmonious square in Andalusia, which is flanked by several mansions, including the Palacio de las Cadenas, now the town hall. The mansions have been decaying for centuries, but many are now finally being restored. The famous Spanish architect Andrés de Vandelvira designed the interior patio of the slender arches of the town hall and many of the most impressive mansions of old Ubeda. The architect's crowning achievement is the privately owned Palacio de Vela de los Cobos, which you can admire on Plaza del Ayuntamiento. It was designed in the mid-1500s for Francisco de Vela de los Cobos, the town's magistrate. Its impressive facade is surmounted by an arcaded gallery. The L-shaped architecture of the building is most unusual.
You can pick up a map from the tourist office and set out. Most of the buildings aren't open to the public, including many by Vandelvira himself, but at least you can admire the facades.
Palacio de las Cadenas (Palace of Chains) takes its name from the decorative iron chains once affixed to the columns of its main portal. Today it can be entered from either Plaza Vázquez de Molina or Playa Ayuntamiento. After a look-see, you can go around the corner to Callejón de Jesús, which will take you into vaulted stone-built cellars.
Also opening onto Plaza Vázquez de Molina is Iglesia Santa María, mainly from the 17th century, although its cloisters predate the building by at least a century. Inside you can visit a series of beautiful chapels, which are protected by stunning wrought-iron grilles, most of them created by Master Bartolomé. The church is usually open during the day.
Before the completion of Plaza Vázquez de Molina, a nearby square, Plaza Primero de Mayo, was the heart of the Old Town. Today it is the scene of an outdoor market. So-called heretics were burned here during the Inquisition.
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