The Royal Monastery of our Lady of Guadalupe, declared by UNESCO world heritage site

The Royal Monastery of our Lady of Guadalupe is located in the beautiful town of La Puebla, which has become one of the most important centers of art and culture in the Extremadura region.

The town’s history dates back to the XIV century, when the image of our Lady of Guadalupe was found by the Guadalupe River. A hermitage was built on the site and the image was placed in it. The image was named Guadalupe, which means hidden river.

The Spanish authorities have declared La Puebla a National Monument. Some of La Puebla’s streets are a magnificent sample of popular architecture. Besides the Royal Monastery, La Puebla has other historical buildings such as the old Colegio de Infantes o de Gramática built in Mudejar style and turned into a Parador de Turismo.

The Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe

The Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe was declared a World Heritage Site by The Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993, and is an exceptional illustration of four centuries of Spanish religious architecture. It symbolizes two significant events in world history that occurred in 1492: la Reconquista, the act of taking back the Iberian Peninsula by the Catholic kings, and Christopher Columbus’ arrival at the Americas. Its famous statue of the Virgin became a powerful symbol of the christianization of much of the New World. (World Heritage description at http://whc.unesco.org/sites/665.htm)

The building has an irregular shape because of the various additions and construction over the centuries. It has the appearance of a fortress with battlement towers and walls. The construction of the monastery lasted from the 14 through the 18th centuries. A cloister in Mudejar style of rectangular shape was built between 1389 and 1405. The monastery’s church was built in gothic style during the 15th century and holds within its walls many valuable works of art, paintings by Zurbarán and El Greco, books, embroideries, and jewelry.

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