I first went to visit the Cartuja with my friend Olga when we were still in University, she studied technical arquitect there, and i was on tourism in Malaga.
The year we were both studying art from both difernt points of view, the style one and the structure one. So we begna to discuss about all teh details and when we realised we had a group of people around asking for tecnical questions as if we were teachers... it was a great fun! Maybe because for both our hiden profesiona would be teaching, but for circunstancces, we are not both on that profesional path
Not really a short or convenient walk from the cluster of historic sites near the Plaza Nueva, it is worth the bus trip to visit the Monestario de la Cartuja. Located adjacent to the Universidad de Granada, the Monestario is a very impressive and large edifice. But the real highlight of the monastery is the artwork inside the chapel and sacristy not to mention the Sangrario (sanctuary) behind the main altar. The lavish baroque craftsmanship is quite a shock after going through the rather plain and dreary other portions of the monastery before ending the tour at the chapel. Since photos are not allowed I cannot include a photo of what I am describing…not that any photos would do justice to the spectacle. Just know that if you make the trip (and you should!) you will not be disappointed. Admission is 3 euros.
La Cartuja de Granada, Granada Charterhouse, is a Carthusian monastery. In 1506 Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, the Great Captain, donated to the Carthusian monks the land to build the Monastery. The construction began in 1516 and continued for the following 300 years. Awfully, some parts of the monastery were destroyed, such as the great cloister. But we can still see the most of it.
There is a great contrast between the sober exterior and the rich decoration of the church.
Before going up the stairs leading to the façade, notice the paving made with white and black stones. On the façade we can see the marble image of St. Bruno.
The central piece of the monastery is the Cloister, with Doric columns. Around this patio there are some small chapels, the Refectory, the Room of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Old Chapel, the Chapterhouse and the main piece, the Church.
In the Refectory there are some paintings of Juan Sánchez Cotán, representing different episodes of the Carthusian order, such as foundation or the prosecution suffered in England under the rule of Henry VIII. Other paintings represent the Last Supper and scenes of the Passion.
The Room of Sts. Peter and Paul is adjacent to the Refectory. There was a fountain where the monks used to wash before eating, while reciting the psalm De Profundis clamave ad Te, Domine. This room is also decorated with paintings of Juan Sánchez Cotán. One of these paintings represents the Apostles Peter and Paul.
The Church, including the Presbytery, the Sancta Sanctorum and the Sacristy, is an example of Baroque style.
The Church has a single nave divided into three parts. The first part was for the monks, the second for the laity, and the third, near the door of the church, was for the people. Along the church there are also paintings of Juan Sánchez Cotán. The walls are lavishly decorated with plaster and paintings of Bocanegra, such as the Immaculate and Our Lady of the Rosary.
In the Presbytery we find a rich polychrome ornamentation. There are gypsum sculptures and paintings of Bocanegra and Sánchez Cotán. The High Altar is under a wooden canopy decorated with mirrors. The Presbytery is covered by an elliptical dome.
The Sancta Sanctorum is separated by a door made of Venetian glass. This part of the church can be considered a masterpiece of the Spanish Baroque. Architecture, Sculpture and Painting merge creating a magnificent work around the marble Tabernacle. The author was Francisco Hurtado Izquierdo.
The Sacristy was designed by Francisco Hurtado Izquierdo. There are nice retables and paintings, works of artists such as Alonso Cano, but the most impressive for me was the furniture. All the doors and drawers are veneered with mahogany, lignum vitae, ebony, shell, ivory and silver. José Manuel Vázquez, the artist, worked on this Sacristy for 34 years. Also the magnificent door that separates the Sacristy from the Presbytery is decorated with the same fine woods.
The Carthusian order was founded in France by St. Bruno. It is a Roman Catholic order of enclosed monks and nuns. The Carthusians had once 24 monasteries in Spain. They all were expropriated in 1836. Nowadays there are in Spain 4 inhabited Carthusian moasteries (Cartujas): Miraflores in Burgos, Montealegre in Barcelona, Aula Dei in Zaragoza and Porta Coeli in Valencia.
From Monday to Sunday.
Winter: 10:00 to 13:00, from 15:00 to 18:00
Summer: 10:00 to 13:00, from 16:00 to 20:00
The Carthusian monastery was built sometimes in 1516 , stands in the north of the city. Near the restored monastery of San Jerónimo (1492) is the University of Granada, which was founded in 1526 and received its charter in 1531; it is now housed in a former Jesuit college.
Apr-Oct: 10am-1pm & 4pm-8pm Mo-Sat
Nov-Mar: 10am-1pm & 3:30pm-6:30pm Mo-Sun
Although not in the tourist area the Carthusian Monastery is well worth a visit. The facade is not very impressive, (the best view being from the rear) walking through the 16th century arch into a courtyard, the main building being accessed via a grand staircase.
The Carthusian monks are a contemplative order with no ministry or occupation as this is incompatible with their life of solitude. Although the laybrothers may go out once a week, the monks leave the cloister only three or four times a year, spending most of the time in their cells, praying and studying. The only time they are permitted to speak is in the small workshop where they make rosary beads from rose petals. Often fasting, they have a very simple diet and never eat meat, eating only bread and water on Fridays.
The monastery was built over three centuries and never completed, with much of it destroyed over the years. The cloister, a simple courtyard, was built in the 17th century, a number of rooms open on to this, one, the solemn vaulted refectory, was only used on Sundays and Holy days, the monks eating alone the remainder of the week. In these rooms are many paintings of the martyrdom and suffering of the monks and the monastery is quite depressing until you enter the church. Breathtaking is not too strong a word for this 16th century baroque extravaganza of paintings, wallhangings, statues and columns from the great dome with its colours and gold, depicting saints and cherubs to the grand multicoloured marble tabernacle with its precious wood and bronze.
My favourite are the exquisite doors and drawers of the Sacristy with their inlaid mahogany, ebony, ivory, tortoiseshell, mother of pearl and silver.
You do not have to be religious to visit this monastery, the simple lives of the monks in comparison to the opulence of their home and the skill of the craftsmen is what you take away from your visit.
Note that photos are not permitted inside the monastery.
This Carthusian Monastery, is a very tranquil place to visit.
Beautiful cloisters, lovely art works, and a sumptous church.
No photography is allowed inside (and they enforce this,) but you can take photo's in the cloister and outside.
It's a pity that they have not opened up a monks cell for visiting, that would make the visit complete.
Well worth a visit.
Unfortunatly, the leaflet you are given when you buy your ticket is in Spanish = the only language it is printed in, but in one of the shops at the car park area, you can buy guides in other languages cheaply.
This was a monastery for the monks of the Carthutian order (which originated in Italy). They had a very strict schedule - it was made up of 2 hour slots and each two hour slot had to be taken by either praying, working or resting. None of the slots could repeat. Sleeping, eating and socializing was all considered resting, so the monks never got more than 2 straight hours of sleep. The work that they did in the monastery is extraordinary.
Monasterio de La Cartuja is an old monastery built between the 16th and the 18th century, the monastery oozes of wealth and especially the church is beautifully decorated!
Though it the map it may look it's far away you can go walking. It's not far.
The entrance to see this beautiful building is 2.50 euros.
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