Photographer's Note

Taken at Uclés Monastery...


The monastery is at the top of a hill, at whose feet to the east of the town unfolds Uclés. The monastery is part of a large complex of buildings built during different periods of history and had its origins during the Muslim domination, blossomed as a fortification during the possession by the Order of Santiago, which was his house important, and acquired its present appearance after completion of the Reconquista.


The hill on which sits the monastery, and in ancient times hosted a celtíbero castro. However, were the Muslims who built a fortress with imposing defensive parapets, some of which can be seen even today. After being finally conquered by the Christian King Alfonso VIII in 1174 gave the castle to the Order of Santiago, making it their headquarters. Over time, it was forming an intricate set of dependencies that resided members of the Order, who joined the fortress and the church built after the Christian conquest.

After the end of the Reconquista, the whole building underwent a radical revamp, which ended much of the defensive elements of the castle (not with walls that are still preserved: a first wall protecting the old orchard, watered with Bedija river, a second, currently in very poor condition, still leaves a glimpse of you in the form of saw teeth) and gave it its current appearance.

The construction of the monastery began on May 7, 1529, during the reign of Charles I (the crown had acquired in the fifteenth century, the mastership of the order), starting with the east wing, which is Plateresque. The original traces are Enrique Egas. In the last quarter of the sixteenth century began the building of the church Herrera style. Later in the seventeenth century the work of the court, continued the main staircase, while the wings were concluded west and south. The work was completed in 1735 under the reign of Felipe V, the ship rising oriental body and terminating the main entrance, which is Churrigueresque.

Its construction was used stone head from the Greek (Segóbriga), especially on the eastern side.

In 1836, with the seizure of Mendizabal, the Order of Santiago had to leave the building. In the early twentieth century the monastery went to college secondary school and later Augustinian novitiate and college, until in 1936 it was looted and destroyed inside, then he settled a makeshift hospital. After the Civil War, devoted himself to prison for political prisoners and missing it after its restoration in October 1949 received the minor seminary of the diocese of Cuenca, the name of Minor Seminary "St. James".


The result of the long period during which the works were executed, the monastery can be seen in three styles: Plateresque Herrera and Churrigueresque, making it an ideal place for a reapaso of Art History. The east wing of the monastery, the first half of the sixteenth century, was executed in Plateresque. The church, which occupies the north wing, and was completed in 1602, is the style of Herrera. The rest of the monastery, built during the seventeenth century Baroque façade and culminates with Churrigueresque, the work of Ribera.


Eastern Front.
It is so called because it mimics the filigree decoration to the goldsmiths performed on silver.

The building was designed by Enrique Egas and its execution corresponds to the following teachers: Francisco de Luna, Gaspar de Vega, Pedro Tolosa, Diego de Alcántara and Bartolome Ruiz (sixteenth century).

The decor Plateresque clearly seen in the windows of the eastern side where there was some asymmetry. Motifs are repeated: skulls, shells, crosses, and allegorical.

The coffered ceiling of the refectory, pine carving melis, consists of 36 caissons that correspond to 36 busts of masters, priors and knights of the Order. Prominent among them dedicated to Don Alvaro de Luna (which instead of containing a skull crowned effigy surrounded by the words "YOU NOBLE BARON, FORGIVE ANYONE KNOW THAT," referring to death) and that of Charles I, which occupies the central to their imperial attributes: a sword and an orb. On the south side provides a shield of Spain.

The old vestry has two buildings at right angles. It has a vault with pointed elements. The work covered platerescas friezes, columns and pilasters.

Herrera style

View of the tower head of the church from the courtyard.
The church is the work of Francisco de Mora (disciple of Juan de Herrera, architect of El Escorial), who was in charge of the works for 22 years. That is why it is sometimes called the Escorial monastery of La Mancha. Is a Latin cross and has a single nave with five sections and a raised choir. Is 65 meters long and 12 wide. The cruise is higher and closed as a flashlight. The dome is half orange and adorned with slices of scallops, by Antonio Segura. The cruise is separated by a fence decorated with the royal arms and the cross of Santiago. In his only ship are interconnecting side chapels (where there is currently an exhibition on the history of the Order of Santiago), which are like two aisles. Its construction was completed in 1598.

The original altarpiece was Greco-Roman style with baroque tendencies and it is preserved at the top. Francisco Garcia was commissioned darters. The rest was destroyed during the civil war and then reconstructed in plaster. The altar table is chaired by Francisco de Ricci, court painter to Philip IV, and has recently been restored.

Pantheon. Among the sacristy and the church is the entrance to the crypt, which has a Latin cross. Today is for theater and remains of burials. The old church was the burial of illustrious personages of the Order of Santiago. There they buried Doña Urraca, the Master Rodrigo Manrique and his wife, and his famous son, Jorge Manrique and many characters of the Order. Today no one knows exactly where these remnants lie. By building the present church (1602) existing graves in the church of Santiago were relocated to a basement of the same which is down a flight of 80 steps that were in a chapel under the choir.

It is debated whether a cell in the crypt beneath the high altar was imprisoned Francisco Quevedo, no reviews for all tastes.

In the seventeenth century was built the monastery courtyard, with two floors of galleries, the upper balconies closed mode as well as the staircase that leads to the second floor.

Cloister. It has 36 balconies in honor of the 36 canons that came from Loyo reglares (the masters were 44). The top of the cloister is closed and the open bottom.

The west facade was planned by Francisco de Mora, but was not executed by him. It is also the style of Herrera and she is the front entrance of the church. Next is a piece of wall of the old Arab building. This facade is flanked by two towers with pinnacles (similar to the left) who disappeared in the nineteenth century in the fires of 1845 and 1877.


Main facade of the monastery.
The main facade or noon was built in 1735 by Pedro de Ribera, a major focus of courtly Baroque master. Highlights on this front as its composition, as a front altar, like his carved ornamentation.

On the cover are arranged four pilasters without architectural subject, which act as decorative elements.

At the top are dolphins, lions heads, warriors, trophies, fruit and two crossings of Santiago. As a kicker, two busts of Moorish subjects with chains, medium body with the cross of Santiago masterful in his left hand and a sword in the right that reads Defensio Fidei (defending the faith).

At the bottom is the inscription Caput Ordinis (head of the order), crosses loose royal crown, trophy and Moorish knights chains, the exponent of the domain had on them and slavery to which reduced.

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Additional Photos by Manuel Mayorga (ManuMay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2467 W: 253 N: 4601] (36447)
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