As it goes driving around Jaca got a pamphlet from the tourist office about this monastery. So decided to give it a go. What a pleasant surprise and great road warrior ride up the mountains to it. The Monasterio de San Juan de la Peña.
This is their official webpage, http://www.monasteriosanjuan.com/monasterio-san-juan-de-la-pena.php?L=en
We drove from Jaca after coming back from Sabiñanigo, on the N330a. We took going the mountaneous ride (about 1280 meters high) along the A1205 road that change into A1603 that goes to the monastery head on. We arrive about 10H30 in time to go the new monastery and take the mini bus by 11h30 to the old monastery. We left the place by 18h going the way towards Santa Cruz de los Seros on the A1603 that connects with the N240 that brought us back to Jaca.
This is a monumental place that must be seen advertise spread the word more, can’t believe it is not more known. I take office of the tourist guide who gave an excellent recount of the events here, she was good. Here in the mount of Oroel you find San Juan de la Peña, the monastery is covered by a huge mountain rock and its done since 920AD and known for maintenance of the Christian faith in the Pyrénées at the time of the Muslim occupation, this monastery was chosen as pantheon by the Kings and nobles of Aragón-Navarra. The land was before occupy by hermits who had withdrawn in this hidden corner of the Pyrénées, following the Muslim invasion, around the year 720. In the 11C, the monastery adopted the Cluniac reform.
The low church or early church who subsequently made office crypt, is one of few Mozarabic buildings remaining in the region. The courts and Pantheon of the Aragonese nobles of the 11C to 14C. Aligned along the left wall décor billets and pearls, burial niches are minted badge, a chrismon or cross in four Escutcheons, emblem of lñigo Arista, one of the founders of the Kingdom of Navarre. On a niche you can see an Angel carrying the soul of the deceased. Opposite a door gives access to the Museum, products of excavations in the monastery. The high Church of the end of the 11C. Part of its single nave in the rock for vault and three apse chapels decorated with arches are engaged in the wall.
The royal Pantheon opens in the left wall. For five centuries the Kings of Aragon and Navarre there were buried. Its current appearance dates from the 18C a la renaissance style. The cloister from the 12C and it is reached by a Mozarabic door. Inside you can see the paintings of San Cosme and San Dàmian from the 12C, the Superior Church done in 1094AD, and gothic chapel of San Victoriàn.
After fires and hesitudes a construction of the new monastery was begun in the year 1676. Throughout its works that extended until the first years of the 19C the monks counted on the advice of numerous professionals,you can see several Windows on the floor covered with glass floors that shows the work been done in the lower floor off from visitors only can be seen thru the glass. The trace of the building constitutes one of the most perfect and evolved examples of the monastic architecture in the Modern Age, because of its symmetry, because of the multiplication of its cloisters and because of the rational organization that possessed the original project, the one that, regrettably, was never totally carried out.
The facade of the new monastery building is impressive of a barroque style. It was abandoned in 1835 and after much needed renovation it houses Inside the center for interpretation of the monastery of San Juan de la Peña, and a hospederia four stars (lodging hotel), a rest area, cafeteria’restaurant, Spa, salons and free parking. You can contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel +34 974 355 119 fax +34 974 355 089.