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The Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe | Extremadura, Spain (In Pictures)

Continuing now with another set of photographs from our family trip to Spain back in late May. If you missed the previous posts (and there's really no good excuse to have done so, SUBSCRIBE HERE), we started in Madrid, made our way NW over to the spectacular Walls of Ávila, continued 154 km SW to our first stop in Extremadura, the city of Plasencia, and then a short drive south through Monfragüe National Park, the largest and best preserved Mediterranean forest worldwide, and then to the medieval city of Trujillo, a short 40 minute drive south.

All caught up? Good.

Our next stop was Guadalupe, a historic village set on the foothill of Sierra de Altamira and just over an hour drive east from Trujillo. It is home to the Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993 and was one of the most important monasteries in the country for more than four centuries.

The monastery had its origins in the late 13th century, when a shepherd from Cáceres, named Gil Cordero, discovered on the bank of the Guadalupe River a statue of the Blessed Virgin, which had been apparently hidden by local inhabitants from Moorish invaders in 714. On the site of his discovery a chapel was built, dedicated under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

King Alfonso XI, who visited the chapel more than once, invoked Santa Maria de Guadalupe in the Battle of Rio Salado. After gaining the victory, he ascribed it to the Madonna's intercession, declared the church at Guadalupe a royal sanctuary and undertook an extensive rebuilding program.

In 1389, the Hieronymite monks took over the monastery and made it their principal house. It remained the most important cloister in Spain until the Confiscation of monasteries in 1835 (the Spanish government's seizure and sale of property, including from the Catholic Church, from the late 18th century to the early 20th century, to obtain money to pay off the public debt securities). In the 20th century, the Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was revived by the Franciscan Order and Pope Pius XII declared the shrine a "Minor Papal Basilica" in 1955.

We didn't have the time for the 5 euro tour of the monastery (which I hear is pretty awesome) but I did shoot several photographs outside and inside this remarkable structure. Enjoy...

Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Behold! Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe!

Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

A few different looks from outside the monastery...

Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

View of the Plaza de Santa María from the top steps of the monastery...

Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

The altarpiece in the main church contains sculptures by Jorge Manuel Theotocópuli, the son of Doménikos Theotokópoulos, painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance most widely known as "El Greco" ("The Greek")

Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

From the altar looking to the back wall of the main church...

Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Views from inside the main church...

Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Back outside, here's another view of the plaza from the top steps...

Royal Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

In the central Plaza de Santa María, the fountain of Tres Caños is where the first Indians brought by Columbus from his second journey to America were baptized.

ORANGE STRIPE

More photos of our trip to Extremadura, Spain forthcoming so please SUBSCRIBE HERE to our blog so you won't miss a future post. You won't be sorry. Promise...
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