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SPRING IN SPAIN, 2006

Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes,

Toledo

 

More photos from Toledo

 

 

The Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, attractive "flamboyant gothic" with "Mudéjar influences" masterpiece founded by los Reyes Católicos Isobel and Ferdinand to commemorate the battle of Toro in 1476, which consolidated their power.  This was where they planned on being buried, but then they captured Granada in January 1492 and got a better tomb idea.  The monastery's location is at the edge of town, on the corner of the Jewish quarter, and this renders it relatively free from the main daily tourist mobs.

 

Sadly for our visit in May 2006 many of the buildings were scaffolded and netted - but this gives something to look forward to in a couple of years' time.

 

 

The orange trees and the tangy scent of orange blossom are a tradition bequeathed by the courtyards of the Islamic Mosques and luckily maintained in many monastery and church cloisters.

 

Los Reyes entrusted their monastery into the care of the Franciscans, who lasted until early in the 1800s, when their home got bashed badly by the French and then they were thrown out altogether under the Depriving Laws of Mendizábal in 1836. 

 

The buildings were finally restored after the 1930s Spanish Civil War, and the Franciscans moved back in.  Toledo generally, and the Alcazar in particular, were very badly damaged during the civil war, and this plaque preserves a memory of Franciscan Friars martyred during these sad years.

 

 

Although described as "flamboyant gothic" in original style,  the monastery was lucky enough to be renovated when this was not in style, and the lines of the church and cloisters are, by Spanish standards, relatively clean and simple. 

 

Because of its intended use as a Royal Pantheon, the place is dripping with heraldic motifs (and aggressive looking birds) of all descriptions.

 

 

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