Monastery of San Isidro de Loriana

Puebla de Obando, Spain

The Monastery of San Isidro de Loriana was erected in 1551 next to the Loriana river under direction of Fray Alonso del Manzanete, a native of the town of Manzanete (now Puebla de Obando). The structure was built on an ancient chapel dedicated to Saint Isidore, believed to have formerly belonged to the Templars. The construction featured a narrow building with a single nave, separated into three sections, which had no more than two small rooms and no cloister. The upper section was divided into seven cells, which included the refectory, a kitchen, an office and the vestry.

Its location in close proximity to the river resulted in exposure to high humidity and eventual deterioration. The structure was refurbished in 1605 and relocated to safer and higher ground. New construction techniques were employed, that reflected its geographical proximity to the Portuguese border. Indigenous slate material was used in its construction, and involved masonry, brick and ashlar stones. It maintained the simplicity and frugality characteristic of the Franciscan order.

The newly constructed monastery had a small 5x5 meter central cloister with eight Tuscan order granite columns supporting eight arches. This formed the lower gallery of the courtyard. The upper gallery was composed of an equal number of arcs. A granite well made of square curbstone was built indoors in the center of the courtyard. There is also an upper floor where the bedrooms of the Franciscans were located.

The interior features a dining area, a barrel vault made of brick, an interior courtyard, a choir in the church and more bedrooms. Towards the southeast there are a series of swinging buttress double doors that lead into the aisle. The church is small and is attached to the cloister. There are other rooms around the cloister including the refectory, choir, sacristy, library, corridors and twelve cells.

The importance of the monastery declined over time due in part to damages suffered during the Portuguese Restoration War and the War of the Spanish Succession that, between 1640 and the early 1700s, affected border areas of Baja Extremadura, including communities in Alburquerque and Badajoz.

In the nineteenth century the monastery was damaged during the Spanish War of Independence. A few years later, Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal laws resulted in the final abandonment of the monastery by the friars in 1841.

After the departure of the Franciscans the building passed into private hands and several farmhouses were built nearby. Now located on private property with restricted access, the monastery is completely abandoned and was formerly used as a warehouse or for keeping livestock. The structure is in an advanced state of ruin, and threatening to collapse.

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Founded: 1551
Category: Religious sites in Spain

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