Monastery of Saint Mary of Guadalupe

Guadalupe, Spain

The Royal Monastery of Saint Mary of Guadalupe is a Roman Catholic monastic establishment built during the 14th century located in Guadalupe. It is located at the foot of the eastern side of the Sierra de las Villuercas and was one of the most important and fine monasteries in the country for more than four centuries. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1993.

The site has played a leading role in the history of medieval and modern Spain, being linked to the Crown of Castile from the reign of Alfonso XI and the other Peninsular kingdoms – particularly after the conquest of Granada, which resulted in the unification of all territories, the emergence of the Modern State in Europe, the end of the period of the Reconquest, and the discovery of the New World.

The monastery is an exceptional example of an ensemble comprised of widely differing architectural styles, including in particular the 14th- to 15th-century Mudéjar church and cloister. The following architecture from different periods is worth underscoring: the Basilica (main church) or Templo Mayor – with a façade notable for its Mudéjar works, its doors ornamented with finely-worked bronze plaques, the interior nave and two side aisles with fine ornamented vaulting, and many richly decorated tombs and altars.

The sacristy built between 1638 and 1647 is abundantly decorated and best known for the series of paintings by Zurbarán and wall paintings that highlight the austere lines of its architecture. The Chapel of Santa Catalina of Alejandría, a square building that links the Sacristy with the Reliquaries Chapel, has an octagonal cupola lit by a lantern, contains some outstanding 17th-century tombs, and houses many elaborate reliquaries and other works of art in its arcaded alcoves. The Camarín de la Virgen, a small octagonal building situated behind the presbytery of the basilica is amply decorated in Baroque style.

Of special interest is the upper storey, the “Chamber of the Virgin” proper, in which the vaults are richly decorated in plaster and stucco and the walls covered with paintings, among them nine by Luca Giordano. It houses the famous statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe on a magnificently ornamented throne. The cloister was constructed in brick in the Mudéjar tradition and painted in white and red. The small chapel in the centre dates from 1405, and there is an impressive portal ca. 1520-24 in Plateresque style. The Gothic cloister has galleries on three sides with three tiers of arches, and the New Church, in modified Baroque style, has three naves.

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Guadalupe, Spain
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Founded: 14th century
Category: Religious sites in Spain

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Richard Sewell (4 months ago)
Wow!! We made a special detour whilst walking Camino Mozárabe to visit Guadalupe. We were not disappointed and would highly recommend. No need to add extra photos!
Z Z (11 months ago)
The monastery buildings are divided into three parts: the hotel, the church, and the cloisters (main part?). The latter is only accessible via a guided tour, which is only in Spanish - tickets required, no idea of frequency, times, or duration as we didn't bother (the chap selling them was not helpful). The church is worth popping into - very ornate. We happened to time it so that the effigy of Mary spun around to face us from the altar (Catholics do love their drama). The monastery hotel is a lovely setting for lunch, which compensates for the pretty average food.
Cheese Cake (13 months ago)
I took the bus from Madrid (4hr journey) to visit this monastery. The building is very beautiful but unfortunately photography is not allowed inside, except in the cloister. Also the tour (EUR 6) is only conducted in Spanish, which is a shame.
Jan Leigh (13 months ago)
Would love to give a review of the actual monastery but we decided against going in based on the appalling treatment from the incredibly rude man on the cash desk. He indicated he was ready to serve me then barked 'momento' several times when I began to speak. It became apparent that speaking to one of his colleagues was more important so I waited until he deigned to talk to me. I asked (in Spanish) what time the next tour was and if there was a subsequent one as, having walked 30 mins in the heat, we would prefer to have a drink before going in. Again, he barked back at us in very fast Spanish whilst desperately trying to tear off two tickets for the immediate tour which we clearly didn't want. Even after asking him to slow his speech down he would not do so and did not display one iota of customer care - astonishing in a visitor attraction and a religious one at that. My 6€ was duly spent elsewhere, having a relaxing couple of beers in a very friendly bar.
KYOICHI MURATA (2 years ago)
It cost you 6 euros. You cannot enter and look around the monestry on your won. You must join the tour so it is better to check the tour schedule first. It is really worthwhile visiting inside, beautiful treasures and ornaments. Unfortunately it is not allowed to take a photo inside.
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