Guadalupe is the name of a small river, an illustrious black Virgin that appeared at the end of the 13th century, a town in Cáceres and, of course, a famous sanctuary, located in the Sierra de Las Villuercas, province of Cáceres, in the land of Extremadura.
Just 50 minutes from our rural houses, is the outstanding Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe. Declared World Heritage Site, it is a religious-historical and artistic ensemble of incalculable value.
The Sanctuary began its journey at the end of the 13th century, initially being a small, poor and humble hermitage, guarded in its early years by the priest Pedro García (1330), and replaced by the so-called Second Church at the end of the 14th century. Alfonso XI, who enjoyed hunting in these mountains, visited Guadalupe in 1335 and, contemplating the ruinous state of the primitive hermitage, began the steps to proceed with its restoration.
Cardinal Pedro Gómez Barroso was appointed as custodian, taking care of the restoration task from 1335 to 1341. At this time “The Puebla” (the old town) was founded in 1337 and ordered by Alfonso XI they began to build the Monastery (1340) requesting and obtaining for this place the creation of a secular priory and declaring it under royal patronage. The secular priory, endowed with the civil lordship over the town, was directed by four priors between the years 1341 and 1389. At the end of this period the sanctuary was handed out to the Order of San Jerónimo, which remained for four centuries till confiscation in 1835. The Archdiocese of Toledo took over, ran by diocesan priests until de arrival of the Franciscan Order in 1908. Today, the Franciscan Order runs and maintains the monastery and sanctuary.
As notable distinctions, the monastery holds the titles of: “Royal” by grant of Alfonso XI in 1340, “Pontifical” by grant of Pius XII in 1955, “National Monument” in 1879 and “World Heritage” by UNESCO in 1993. In addition, the image of Santa María de Guadalupe bears the title of “Queen of Spain and Spanishness” granted by Alfonso XIII in 1928 and “Patroness Saint of Extremadura” in 1907.
This ensemble has a history of Faith and Culture with more than seven centuries, manifested in its majestic library and musical chapels, in its Scriptorium where the miniature or “illuminated” books are deployed, in its embroidery showcast, goldsmithing, in its royal hospital, pharmacy and all the artistic workout.
The Guadalupe Monastery is and was a monument of notable importance: It was the main Monastery of the Jerónima Order. It is an exceptional exponent of architecture due to its diversity and variety of styles (the Temple and Mudejar Cloister stand out as unique in the world), linked to the middle and modern history of Spain due to its relationship with the Catholic kings, exceptional protagonism with the evangelization and conquest of America, a first level cultural center, research and teaching center (medical school, pharmacy, scriptorium …), workshops of various kinds (embroidery, goldsmithing, miniatures), library with an extensive and rich collection, pilgrimage center and guesthouse.