Route of the Monasteries
MONASTERIES IN HUESCA
San Pedro de Siresa.
About 45km. from Jaca. Take road C-314 to Puente La Reina and there take the turn-off that takes to Selva de Oza. Few kilometres after Echo, we find Siresa, where we can admire a lovely popular architecture. Despite the works it is possible to visit it
San Juan de la Peña.
About 25 km. from Jaca. Take road C-314 to Puente La Reina, then take the first turn-off to the left. We pass by Santa Cruz de la Serós, which conserves the remains of a female monastery from the 11th century, and finally we arrive at San Juan de la Peña.
We find two monasteries. Both of them are National Monuments: the upper one, Baroque from the 17th century, and the Romanesque monastery hewn into the rock and founded by the Benedictines in the 9th century.
The monastery is a National Monument located in Villanueva de Sigena (Huesca). It can be partially visited with a guide. Information about admission times is available in the monastery.
This solemn and huge female monastery was founded by Queen Doña Sancha, the wife of Alfonso II. It was the most important of its time in Aragón.
It began to be built by the end of the 12th century, and it belonged to the Order of Saint John of Jerusalemn.
Apart from the nuns there was a group of monks in charge of the worship and of administration tasks, though they were under the prioress’ authority. The monastery is a Romanesque work, with some parts belonging to the transitional period to the Gothic style. It has a church, a cloister and the rooms, together with the Priory Palace. The church has a Latin cross plan with one nave, crossing with a surprising dome and apse with oven vaults. In the outside some decorations on the windows and the impressive doorway with fourteen archivolts are outstanding.
MONASTERIES IN TERUEL
Santa María del Olivar.
Located in the Olivar Valley, 4 km. from Estercuel; 60 km. from Alcañiz by the road linking Tarragona and Alcolea del Pinar; 140 km. from Zaragoza; 120 km. from Teruel. The setting is a spot surrounded by trees on the banks of the river Escuriza.
Two different elements can be appreciated in the current building: the church and the convent, both of them forming a rectangular ensemble with Herrerian aspect. It is a National Monument.
In the 13th century, Don Gil de Atrosillo had the first hermitage built. Monks of the Merced Order lived there. The primitive hermitage soon became a Gothic church. In the 16th century some modifications were introduced following different styles: Mudejar, Aragonese Gothic and Renaissance. The work was finished in the 17th century.
The church has a single nave and two chapels on the sides. The apse is presided by the image of Santa María del Olivar. The original image was destroyed during the Civil War. A reproduction was made, and its face is a work by the sculptor Pablo Serrano.
MONASTERIES IN ZARAGOZA
79 km. from Zaragoza, between Borja and Tarazona, next to the village of Vera del Moncayo. It is a National Monument. The admission times are different in winter and summer.
The monastery of Veruela is located in one of the most beautiful areas in the province: the Moncayo. It is one of the most important Cistercian monasteries, abandoned with Mendizábal’s Desamortización (sale of Church lands and properties) in 1835. Nowadays it is being restored by the Diputación de Zaragoza, and used for cultural events: concerts, exhibitions...
It was founded in 1145, and its building was begun few years later. In all Cistercian monasteries the general planning of the building was virtually the same. Veruela was not an exception.
The Carthusian monastery of Aula Dei.
About 10 km. from Zaragoza, following the road to Barcelona, between Peñaflor and Montañana. It can be visited with limitations due to the monastic life.
It was founded in 1564 by Don Fernando, the grandson of the Catholic King, and restored in 1800. Built in the Renaissance monastic style, it is enclosed with a brick wall.
Its Gothic church from the 14th century is remarkable. It has a single nave, Latin cross plan, characteristic of the late Gothic, with crossing lierne vaulting. The crossing and the apse are covered with ceramics. The choir stalls are splendid: 96 walnut chairs (1902-1903). The Baroque doorway is impressive.
In the church of Aula Dei seven mural paintings by Goya are conserved. He made all of them in his youth: San Joaquín and Santa Ana’s doorway; the Birth of the Virgin Mary; the Betrothal; the Visit; the Circumcision; the Epiphany and the Presentation in the Temple. There are as well seven paintings from the beginning of the century by the French painter Jean Bardín.
118 km. from Zaragoza, in the direction of Madrid. In Calatayud take the turn-off to Nuévalos (road C-202). Along the two kilometres that separate Nuévalos from the monastery we find a lot of hostels and restaurants. The monastery was declared National Monument.
Piedra monastery is located in one of Aragón’s most attractive spots, in the Iberian Massif. Here the river Piedra flows and its uneven course forms impressive waterfalls. The luxuriant vegetation of the area contrasts with the surrounding sober landscape. It was declared Picturesque Spot in 1945.
The monastery was founded in 1195 by Cistercian monks and it was abandoned in 1835 after Mendizábal’s Desamortización (sale of Church lands and properties). It was later adquired by the Muntadas family. They transformed part of the monastery’s buildings into a hotel and arranged the natural surroundings creating a park suitable for tourist visits.
Nuestra Señora de Rueda. (Our Lady
As well as a monument worth visiting it is a nice place to enjoy a day out in the quiet and grassy banks of the river Ebro.
74 km. from Zaragoza, taking the road to Castellón. Once you’ve passed Quinto de Ebro, 20 km. ahead there is a secondary road to the left leading to Escatrón. On the other bank of the river Ebro, traditionally accessible by boat and, more recently, by a bridge, the uninhabited Cistercian monastery of Rueda (National Monument) stands, in a beautiful garden area.
It is the main monument of the low Aragonese
area. The primitive 13th century lay-out and structure, which
follows the Cistercian patterns, are extraordinarily well-preserved.