Extremadura Sights

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Real Monasterio de Santa María de Guadalupe (Royal Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe)

Real Monasterio de Santa María de Guadalupe (Royal Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe) Review

Looming in the background of the Plaza Mayor is the late-Gothic facade of Guadalupe's monastery church, flanked by battlement towers. The monastery is essentially a whole town in itself. The entrance is to the left of the church. From the large Mudejar cloister, the required guided tour (they run throughout the day) progresses to the chapter house, with hymnals, vestments, and paintings, including a series of small panels by Zurbarán. The ornate 17th-century sacristy has a series of eight Zurbarán paintings, from 1638–47. These austere representations of monks of the Hieronymite order and scenes from the life of St. Jerome are the artist's only significant paintings still in the setting they were made for. The tour concludes with the garish, late-baroque Camarín, the chapel where the famous Virgen Morena (Black Virgin) is housed. The dark, mysterious wooden figure hides under a heavy veil and mantle of red and gold; painted panels tell the virgin's life story. Each September 8, the virgin is brought down from the altarpiece and walked around the cloister in a procession with pilgrims following on their knees. Outside, the monastery's gardens have been restored to their original, geometric Moorish style.

Updated: 06-06-2014

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