It is located on the southern slope of the hill of Altamira, in the center of the Puebla de Guadalupe. The Sanctuary began its journey at the end of the 13th century, being initially a small chapel. By order of Alfonso XI the construction of the Monastery of Guadalupe began in the year 1340 obtaining for this one the category of secular priory, and declared it of his royal patronage granting him in this way lordship on the place. In 1.389 its new inhabitants arrived to it, the monks of the Hieronymite Order, who occupied the monastery for four centuries. It has always been a center of pilgrimage for countless faithful eager to venerate the patron saint of Extremadura. Historical events have taken place here. The Catholic Monarchs received Cristóbal Colón here, who requested that two indigenous people he brought with him on his second trip be baptized in this church. The Monastery of Guadalupe has received the visit of characters of the arts, literature and religion as Santa Teresa de Jesús, San Pedro de Alcántara, San Vicente Ferrer or San Francisco de Borja as well as Spanish monarchs and European emperors, who granted him privileges and made great donations that today are part of his artistic treasure. In the Monastery of Guadalupe the Mudejar and the Gothic styles compete in prominence although the whole has been reformed and extended during centuries. The crenellated top of the towers and the enclosure enclosed by the wall give it the appearance of a medieval fortification. With the disentailment of 1835, the Hieronymites' period came to an end and it became a secular parish of the Archdiocese of Toledo. In 1879 the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was declared a National Historical and Artistic Monument. At the beginning of the 20th century the monastery was handed over to the Franciscan order who began its restoration.
The monastic complex can be accessed through a wide staircase that starts from a beautiful square, the Sanctuary. The first thing that the visitor sees is the beautiful facade of the church of the Monastery. The temple is Gothic from the 14th and 15th centuries. Inside the church a monumental grille separates the presbytery from the body of the temple. In the main altarpiece, the Romanesque carving of the Virgin of Guadalupe can be seen, and in the lower part, like the Sagrario, the desk of Felipe II is preserved. The Camarín de la Virgen is an impressive and beautiful room built over the chapel of the seven altars and behind the presbytery between the years 1687 and 1696; from the dome hangs a Bohemian crystal lamp that was a gift from the Dukes of the Infantado in 1713; on the walls, richly decorated, the Baroque statues representing the eight strong and important biblical women are striking. To the north of the church is the Mudejar cloister, called the Miracles, in the centre of which is a Mudejar temple from 1405, unique in the world. Walking through this cloister you can see outstanding Gothic works, especially in tombs.
On one side is the refectory, now the Embroidery Museum, and on the other side is the Museum of Painting and Sculpture, which houses important works by Zurbarán, El Greco... The Museum of Miniated Books, with beautiful examples from the monastery's own workshop, occupies the room in what was once the chapter house. The sacristy of Guadalupe is one of the most beautiful jewels of the monastery, a true Sistine Chapel, it is composed of three spaces, the ante sacristy, the sacristy and the chapel of San Jerónimo. The reliquary of Guadalupe is a sumptuous chapel, with an octagonal floor plan, dedicated to San José and built at the end of the 16th century, in which ex-votos, relics of saints, chests, etc. are preserved. The Royal Monastery of Guadalupe is an immense construction with five essential parts. The church and to its right the church of the Holy Trinity, today called the "New Church" Auditorium, was built in the 18th century, it is said that by a direct descendant of Colón. Behind the church, the Mudejar cloister, and further north, the Gothic cloister. The monastery is accessed by the old porter's lodge or stewardship, it is a 15th century building and is located in the southwest corner of the church, the stewardship was the place where the poor were served. Among the eight towers that the monastic complex has, there are three that stand out, the Santa Ana, the Porter's and the Bell towers. A visit to the Monastery of Guadalupe, a place of spirituality and the second largest pilgrimage centre in Spain, will surely leave visitors with pleasant memories and sensations.
Tradition says that Enrique IV of Castilla brought his half-sister Isabel, who later became Catholic, to this monastery to arrange the wedding between her and the King of Portugal Alfonso V, a wedding to which Isabel did not agree. However, her stay in the Monastery of Guadalupe left an indelible mark on her and she often returned to it, either to rest or to give thanks to the Virgin of Guadalupe for favours received.
The Monastery of Guadalupe has received, throughout its history, outstanding distinctions. Alfonso XI in 1340 granted it the distinction of "Royal". "Pontifical" is by concession of Pio XII in 1.955. "National Monument" in 1.879 and the UNESCO in 1.993 declared it "Patrimony of the Humanity". In addition, the image of Santa María de Guadalupe holds the title of Patroness of Extremadura since 1907 and "Queen of the Spains or Hispanity" which was granted by Alfonso XIII in the year 1928.
It is said that a very old carving of the Brunette Virgin, carved by St. Luke himself, after many ups and downs reached the place from Seville when some clergymen fleeing from the Muslims took it with them and buried it on the banks of the Guadalupe River, near the southern slopes of the Altamira mountain range. One day a shepherd was looking for a cow that had been lost and finding it dead he set out to remove the skin to take advantage of it and for this purpose with the knife he made a cross on the animal's chest to start skinning it. At that very moment the cow got up and the shepherd heard a beautiful voice that exhorted him to dig in the place until he found the image of the Virgin. He did so and when he found it, he happily returned home but the joy was short-lived as he found his son dead. The shepherd then entrusted himself to the newly found Virgin and the child came back to life. In view of these events, it was decided to build a hermitage on the site of the apparition and this eventually became the monastery and sanctuary.
You can get to Guadalupe by following the EX-118 that comes from Navalmoral de la Mata. We can also do it from Trujillo following the road that starts from this town and links with the EX-102. Similarly, on the N-502 between Talavera de la Reina and Castiblanco and on the A-5 in the section between Navalmoral de la Mata and Mérida, we will find several roads that will take us to the town. Guadalupe has a daily bus service with different lines and timetables that connect it with Madrid, Cáceres...as well as with the towns and cities on the routes. The bus stop marquee is located in Avda Conde de Barcelona.
In the different accesses that Guadeloupe has, we will have parking areas enabled to park our vehicle. Once we have obtained a parking space, we will only have to go to the Square of Guadalupe where the access for the visits to the monastery is located.
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