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Sacromonte Abbey - a famous spot at the top of Valparaiso


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Sacromonte Abbey - a famous spot at the top of Valparaiso


Spain is a country that has preserved and brought to us a large number of medieval sights, which today have become famous tourist sites. The Sacromonte Abbey is no exception: the sun-burnt temple complex is popular with tourists and locals alike. Many legends, names and events are associated with the place, which can now be learned by visiting the Holy Caves and the Abbey Museum. One of the most popular places in the complex is the school, which was opened in the 16th century and became almost the first private educational institution in Europe. A visit to the Sacromonte Abbey is a great idea if you decide to get to know Spain from all angles!

History of the building

A legend is connected with the construction of the abbey. In the spring of 1594, 2 adventurers - according to one version, the Arabs who had just been baptized into Catholicism - set off for easy prey to the place where the Muslim treasury of the Reconquist times lived. The men were in for a surprise: instead of treasures, lead plates with ancient inscriptions became their prey. Another discovery is the burial of the relics of the disciples of Saint Santiago, also glorified as saints. The head of the Catholic Church showed respect and reverence for the finds: by his order in 1598, the construction of a monastery began on the site of the caves.

The project was developed by the architect Pedro Sánchez, and the construction was supervised by the most famous mason of the time, Gines Martinez de Salazar. The first brethren of the monastery - 20 canons, headed by the abbot. The main obedience of the inhabitants was the acceptance of pilgrims who came to worship the relics of the saints. For this purpose, a temple was built in the 17th century, consecrated in honor of Dionysius the Areopagite.

Complex today

When visiting the Sacromonte Abbey today, you should pay attention to:

  • Church of Abadia Del Sacromonte, built in the form of a cross. The construction was built gradually, the main feature is the connection of the side naves with the central ones using semicircular arches. The architecture is quite simple, which cannot be said about the interior decoration: paintings, skillful sculptures and graceful altars, an altarpiece made by Francisco Diaz del Rivero. The choir still has benches made in the 18th century.
  • Patio surrounded by galleries. On the sides are Tuscan columns, arches with stucco molding. The lower floor is finished with stone, the upper one is brick, and in the center there is a large fountain.
  • A museum open to visitors, where the very lead plates, tapestries, church vestments, paintings and other exhibits are kept.
  • The holy caves located right under the complex are the very ones where the Arabs discovered the plates and relics of the saints. An altar is located at the entrance, and you can get from one to another using underground passages. Today, the caves are home to chapels decorated with exquisite works of art.

Interesting Facts

  • Scientists are still debating the authenticity of the lead plates and why the Pope did not appoint an examination, but took the offering "at face value".
  • Chapels in caves are decorated with statues of saints whose bodies were found here in the 16th century
  • One chapel became the seat of the pectoral cross of St. John the theologian, and the second contains a stone that, according to legend, should be kissed by every girl who dreams of getting married before the end of the year
  • The number of lead plates is 21 pieces.

The object belongs to the abbeys.

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