The Charterhouse of Jerez de la Frontera architecture is of a Late Gothic style, corresponding to the start of construction in the 15th century, with Baroque aspects dating from the 17th century. The building, completed in the 17th century, has been designated by the Spanish government as an Historic-Artistic Monument.
The impulse behind the monastery dates back to Alvaro Obertos de Valeto, a knight of Genovese descent, appointed during the Reconquista by Alfonso X of Castile to defend the city shortly Alfonso had conquered it from Muslim rule in 1264. Lacking descendants, he left his fortune to establish a Carthusian monastery in the city. It was not until 1475 that this location near the Guadalete River was chosen, of special significance because in 1368 it has been the site of a victorious battle against invaders; the victory was attributed to intercession by the Virgin Mary, to whom a hermitage had been dedicated on the site, under the name Nuestra Señora de la Defensión ('Our Lady of the Defense'), which was adopted also for the monastery.
The Renaissance entryway, designed by Andrés de Ribera, is of particular interest, as are the Chapel of Santa María, and the small Gothic cloister designed by Juan Martínez Montañés. The choir stalls are by Juan de Oviedo de la Bandera (1565–1625); they were originally made for the Convento-Iglesia de la Merced in Sanlúcar de Barrameda and were transferred to the monastery in 1960. The paintings by Juan de la Roelas currently at the monastery also come from that church. Conversely, the Museo de Cádiz preserves numerous paintings by Francisco Zurbarán that were originally from the monastery.
Nowadays, the Sisters of Bethlehem, of the Assumption of the Virgin, and of Saint Bruno continue the long Roman Catholic monastic and spiritual tradition that had been carried on more than five centuries by the Carthusian fathers.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.