Monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas

Seville, Spain

The Monastery of Santa María de las Cuevas, also known as the Monastery of the Cartuja hosts today The Andalusian Contemporary Art Center (The Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo).

Legend holds that the area, in Moorish times, was honeycombed with caves made by potters for ovens and to obtain clay, and that after the capture of the city by Christians in the thirteenth century, an image of the virgin was revealed inside one of the caves, where supposedly it had been hidden. It prompted the construction of a chapel of Santa María de las Cuevas to house the venerated icon. In the 15th century, the archbishop of Seville, aided by the noble family of Medina, helped found a Franciscan monastery at the site. Later constructions were patronized by don Perafán de Ribera (who built the Casa de Pilatos). In the 15th century, monks of the cloistered order of Saint Bruno were housed in the monastery.

Christopher Columbus' remains were first interred at Valladolid, then at the Monastery of the Cartuja by the will of his son Diego. In 1542 the remains were transferred to Colonial Santo Domingo.

During the Napoleonic invasion, the monastery was sacked and used as barracks. After returning in 1812, the monastery was finally vacated with the general closure of monasteries in 1835–36.

Following the confiscation Englishman Charles Pickman acquired the monastery in 1839. Commencing production in 1841, Pickman established innovative manufacturing methods such as importing raw materials, the use of molds, using specialised machinery, mechanical arms and presses, utilising British ceramist experience while employing pottery workers from nearby Triana. The initial success of the factory led to La Cartuja de Sevilla becoming one of the most popular brands in Europe and in Latin American countries. Production continued until 1984. The bottle shaped kilns and tall chimney are the legacy of the ceramics factory.




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Founded: 15th century
Category: Religious sites in Spain


4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Denica Shute (18 months ago)
Interesting collection and there is a bar attached. The first section isn’t air conditioned but the second part is. Overall, very interesting and set in a beautiful location. We hired e-scooters to get there and found the e-scooter paths pretty good for the most part.
Sacha Meyers (19 months ago)
Avoid. Don’t accept card. Nearest cash machine is over half hour round trip. Poor signage. Difficult access on foot. Full of ugly contemporary art defacing an otherwise elegant monastery.
Ian Witham (2 years ago)
Severely disappointing. Billed as a contemporary art museum, it isn't. Some poorly curated works by unknown Spanish cartoon book artists, a film about paintings in Amazonia by a British Naturalist and other random elements do not constitute a contemporary art centre. The building is amazing - an old monastery, converted in the 19th century to a tile factory, with the two opposing but somehow complementary architectural vernaculars. The gardens could be amazing- actually, they're sadly very neglected. At least it was free!
Kristina Simic (2 years ago)
A majestic old friary that later became a ceramics factory and that today hosts exhibitions of contemporary art
Florian Gouze (2 years ago)
Except if you want to see the exhibit, do not go there. Nothing to see, the monasterio is empty, far from everything and only the current exhibit (who was very poor at the time) is highlighted
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