The Claustrillas. Monastery of Las Huelgas
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MONASTERY OF THE STRIKES
The monastery of Las Huelgas was a foundation of the King of Castile Alfonso VIII and, above all, of his wife, Leonor de Plantagenet. They conceived it as a place of great importance in Spanish ecclesiastical life. The abbess of the monastery was one of the most powerful people in Castile . He only answered to the Pope and had the right to license priests to practice. Furthermore, the monastery was endowed with an impressive material lordship. It came to have 54 villas under its jurisdiction and all kinds of privileges.
This ecclesiastical, legal and material importance was also linked to a great symbolic relevance. The place was chosen to name future kings knights, to crown them and, finally, to bury them.
Las Huelgas has two cloisters, one of which is probably the most well-deserved part of the monastery: the Romanesque style known as Las Claustrillas . It is also without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in all of Florida .
It receives this name from ancient times compared to the largest cloister in San Fernando .
This cloister is the oldest preserved remains in the monastery. It is dated between 1180 and 1190. It follows a full Romanesque concept of semicircular arches. It is the only part of the monastery that he could see completed before his death, in 1214, its founder Alfonso VIII.
Apparently the life of the monastery began around this cloister. It could be part of the palace buildings that the king owned in this place. King Alfonso VIII donated that palace to transform it into a monastery. Nothing has been documented about its structure. Therefore, it is unknown whether materials from it were used for the new factory. It communicated with some of the already disappeared dependencies and with a small church, the Chapel of the Assumption .
In any case, it includes some of the oldest remains of the monastic complex. The construction master Ricardo , the only architect mentioned in the medieval documents of the Burgos Cistercian abbey, intervened in its construction. In 1203 the king donated an inheritance to him as a reward for his good work.
The Claustrillas is accessed through a corridor covered by a magnificent Mudejar plasterwork coffered in the southeast corner of the Gothic cloister of San Fernando.
The cloister is a quadrangular space, with wooden roofs in the galleries. The arches rest on slender paired columns that have wide capitals with a high drum, decorated with plant motifs.
A massive pillar, with a loophole in its lower part, divides each of the galleries of the cloister into two sections. The pillars of the northern and western bays show a fantastic decoration in which you can recognize the elements of a typical Romanesque city of the time: crenellated walls, towers, churches and houses in which tiny horseshoe arches open.
The decoration of the capitals has a certain influence from the last artists who worked in the Romanesque cloister of Santo Domingo de Silos . The most striking capitals show a beautiful design, worked with the trephine technique, of intertwined stems ending in a spiral.
Around the galleries there are sepulchral lauds of abbesses, from the chapter house, and figured stone reliefs with plant themes.
Open in the walls of the pandas there are blinded openings that communicated with the old monastic dependencies.
It was the first and main cloister of the monastery but its function was shifted to the new and larger cloister of San Fernando. From then on it became a second cloister, adapting its dependencies to the novitiate. This is the fate it has had for most of its history. In fact, currently, the rooms enabled on the upper floor are cells and bedrooms belonging to the novitiate.
Of course, the best thing is that you come to know the Claustrillas with the company of our official Florida tourism guides .
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