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Monasterio de la Cartuja
A bit outside the downtown center and sitting on a hill is the Monasterio de la Cartuja de la Asuncion, which is a Carthusian monastery and is one of the most beautiful monasteries in Spain. The building was started in 1516 on land donated by the Gran Capitan and finished after 300 years.
The facade has a 16th century Plateresque portal with the coat of arms of Spain on the top and a statue of the Virgin in a vaulted niche. The entrance leads to the Claustrillo, which is a patio with arcades supported on Doric columns. Around the patio are the main rooms of the monastery.
The Refectory is a sober room that has Gothic vaults and a cross painted by Sanchez Cotan. There are many large paintings done by Sanchez Cotan and Vicente Carducho about the lives of the Carthusian monks. Some show the martyrdom of these monks in England during the reign of Henry VIII.
There is a room called the Sancta Sanctorum, with the most impressive tabernacle done in marble, jasper, and porphyry. On the walls are statues of the saints. There are many sculptures by Cornejo, risueño, and Jose de Mora. Palomino painted the dome mural and several other paintings in the room. The dome has a painting of the Trinity, and below it is San Bruno with the world and the four evangelists are in the triangles formed by the arches. The remains of many saints are kept here and this room is one of the most beautiful religious rooms in all of Spain, a must see for the tourist. It was designed by Francisco Hurtado Izquierdo.
The church has only one nave and the architect was Cristobal Vilches, who constructed it in the first part of the 17th century. The stucco in the church converts La Cartuja into one of the master works of the Baroque. There is an iron railing that divides the space into two sections, one for the priests and the other for laymen. There are seven paintings by Pedro Atanasio Bocanegra about the life of the Virgin Mary. The High Altar has a canopy made by Hurtado Izquierdo in 1710. It is sustained by six gold columns with floral adornments. On top of the altar is a painting of the Virgin of the Assumption.
The sacristy has one nave and was constructed starting in 1727. It is the work of Luis de Arevalo and Luis Cabello, who took 37 years to complete it. The lower part of the walls are made of colored marble. The walls are covered with white stucco that has reliefs. The structure seems to change with the change of light. The altar is made of marble with many colors and has a statue of St. Bruno with a cranium in his left hand. There is a statue of the Virgin over the sculpture of St. Bruno. The figures of saints and angels adorn the cupola and the walls are decorated with paintings of the saints. The ceiling of the chapel is all white stucco, with elaborate designs, and there are gold colored medallions in the centers of the designs. The sacristy is 18th century Baroque and Napoleon’s army killed St. Bruno here.
The church is one of the best examples of the Andalusian Baroque. La Cartuja is considered the Christian answer to the Moorish Alhambra.
Monday to Sunday: 10:00 to 13:00, 15:00 to 18:00h