Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Guadalupe, Spain
The Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe View slideshowThe village of Guadalupe is famed for its fortress-like monastery, founded in 1340, occupied by Hieronymites from 1359 until its dissolution in 1832 and reoccupied by Franciscans in 1928.
It stands on the spot where in the early 14th century a shepherd is said to have found the effigy of a black Virgin believed to have been made by St Luke. The monastery was founded by Alfonso XI in 1340, after the battle of the Río Salado, and in addition to its religious function became the seat of a celebrated faculty of medicine. The veneration of the Virgin of Guadalupe reached a climax in the 15th and 16th Centuries, when the Spanish navigators, before setting out on their voyages of discovery, made her patroness of the whole "Hispanidad", the territories conquered by Spain in America. Columbus named one of the islands he discovered after the Virgin of Guadalupe (Guadeloupe); and the patroness of Mexico is also the Virgin of Guadalupe, who is said to have appeared in 1531 to an Aztec convert to Christianity.
Guadalupe is still one of the great religious centers of Spain, with great fiestas and processions on September 8 and 30, and October 12.
Monasterio de Guadalupe
Address: Plaza Juan Carlos I, E-10140 Guadalupe, Spain
Monastery - Church
The Monastery Church in Guadalupe, which is entered through two bronze doors with scenes from the lives of Christ and the Virgin, was originally built in the 14th century and was rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries. The sculptural decoration of the Baroque retablo was the work of Giraldo de Merló and the paintings are by Vicente Carducho and Eugenio Caxès. The aisles are separated from the nave by finely wrought grilles; the richly carved choir-stalls and the two organs by Churriguera are Baroque. Among the numerous tombs are those of Henry IV of Castile and his mother María of Aragon.
Monastery - Sacristy
To the right of the Capilla Mayor in the church in Guadalupe is the Sacristy, sumptuously decorated in Baroque style, with ceiling paintings and eight portraits (1638-47) by Francisco de Zurbarán of leading members of the Hieronymite order.
Capilla de San Jerónimo
On the altar of the Capilla de San Jerónimo is one of Zurbarán's finest works, "The Apotheosis of St Jerome", and the chapel also contains a trophy from the battle of Lepanto (1571) in the form of a lamp from the Turkish flagship.
Behind the Capilla Mayor, approached by a flight of red jasper steps, is the Rococo Camarín, which houses the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. It contains nine pictures by Luca Giordano and statues of female figures from the Bible. On the wall facing the Capilla Mayor is the modern throne (1953), decorated with enamels, of the Black Virgin; it can be rotated so that the image faces into the church. The statue itself is of oak and is clad in a magnificent brocade robe. On feast days it is decked in a crown covered with precious stone, which can be seen, together with other precious garments, liturgical utensils and relics, in the octagonal reliquary chamber adjoining the Camarín. Other valuable objects are displayed in the Treasury (Joyel).
Beyond the church is the two-story Mudéjar Cloister (14th C.), with fine horseshoe arches. In the center is a fountain-house in the form of a temple (by Juan de Sevilla, 1405).
On the west side of the cloister is the former Refectory, now housing the Museo de Bordados, with beautiful embroidered vestments and altar-cloths of the 14th-18th Centuries, mostly made in convents.
Adjoining the Mudéjar Cloister is the Gothic Cloister, with three galleries (14th-16th C.).
Museum of Illuminated Books
In the former Chapterhouse (in the wing to the left of the monastery façade) is the Museo de Libros Miniado, which displays 86 illuminated books of hours and missals produced in the monastery, a Flemish triptych of the Three Kings, a picture by Juan de Flandes and a number of small pictures by Zurbarán.
Monasterio de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe
The main court of the monasterio was built in mudejar style with two-tiered cloisters and is planted with orange trees. The cruciform paths are lined with clipped box. In the northwest corner is a fountain pavilion.
The village of Guadalupe itself is worth seeing, with its picturesque narrow streets and its Plaza Mayor, centerd on a Gothic fountain.
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