Linares Mini Guide
Linares is an old agricultural city in Andalucia, southern Spain, which is gradually opening itself up to tourism. It is located by the southern end of the Sierra Morena mountains and north west of the Guadalquivir River. The smallish city is the second most important in the province of Jaen
and was the site of the wedding of the Carthaginian general Hannibal who lived before the time of Christ. There are not many ancient sites in the town which still remain, but a visit to the nearby Roman town of Castulo will mean that you can still see many ruins.
Linares became most popular in the middle ages as the site of a smelting area for lead which was manufactured there, as were gunpowder, dynamite and ropes. The last mine closed in 1991 however. Now the population stands at around 60,000 and there is a car making industry, Santana Motors, which employs many of those residents. The main reason that people go to Linares is because of the annual chess tournament which takes place in February and is described as the Wimbledon of chess tournaments. The event was held by a Spanish business man for the first time in 1978 and was not originally on the calendar of elite events, until it hosted the attempt to find a challenger for Kasparov's world title in 1987. Now many of the world's top grandmaster champions travel to the tournament every year.
There are many hotels and apartments to stay in around Linares and a quick search of the internet is the best way to find and book these. Linares is easy to get to and there are a number of highways which lead to the city, so renting a car is a good idea. It is situated on the Valencia Cordoba highway, the N322, 50 kilometres from the capital city of Jaen. The railway station at Linares Baeza gives you a good way to get to Madrid
as well as Almeria
. If you decide to walk around the town be sure to see the church of Santa Maria de Mayor and the impressive 16th century church of San Franciso.
The most famous landmark in the city is the bull ring where the famous bullfighter Manolete met his untimely end. Every year flowers are placed on his statue to remember his bravery and a bunch of roses is also placed in the ring on the exact place where he fell.