Thursday, 13 October 2016

Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe

The Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe was one of the most important monasteries in the country for more than four centuries

Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe
This postcard was sent by Susana

The Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe is located in the province of Cáceres (Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain) at a location of great beauty, overlooking a valley surrounded by high mountains. The town of Guadalupe, built around the Monastery, whose foundation dates back to 1337, offers in its medieval buildings a unique beauty that reflects the traditional architecture in an urban context.
It 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 1647is 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. - in:

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