The Barefoot Carmelites of the Convent of Santa Ana of Villanueva de la Jara!

So back into my beloved Spain everything under the Sun and my dream land of Castilla La Mancha. This time not only off the beaten path site but deep down in the La Mancha territory. A wonderful town full of history and architecture is Villanueva de la Jara and in it ,it houses the wonderful historical Barefoot Carmelites of the Convent of Santa Ana. Let me tell you a bit more about it.

Well , excuse me, some info on the town’s history I like!

Villanueva de la Jara, is a town in the province of Cuenca, in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha. It belongs to the region of La Manchuela.  The town rises between rivers; on the side of the orient, the Júcar, natural border between the Mancha Castellana, and the Castilian borders that extend towards the Levant, where the other flow, the one of the Valdemembra river, tributary of the previous river. It is known for the cultivation of the mushroom which is the main economic activity of the town, as well as different edible fungi. Villanueva de la Jara is well connected as it passes through the town the N-320 that runs from Cuenca to Albacete and the N-310 that runs from Villanueva de la Jara to Manzanares, and is 13 km from the A-3 autovia de Madrid-Valencia. The Madrid-Cuenca-Albacete-Levante AVE train also passes through its municipal area. We arrived by the A-3 highway/motorway towards Valencia taking exit 186 to join the CUV-8307, a few kilometers later we took the N-310 road, which links Villanueva de la Jara with Manzanares (Ciudad Real). Another route that passes through the municipality is the CM-220, which runs between the cities of Cuenca and Albacete.

After the Arab rule the King of Castile, Alfonso VIII, reconquered the town of Cuenca in 1177, also reconquered the town of Alarcón in 1184 and Iniesta in 1186 establishing the town of Cuenca to favor of the repopulation of this territory. During this time, some neighbors of Alarcón traveled 4 leagues (about 19 km) towards the south founding the town, at first like a dependent village of Alarcón and governed under the jurisdiction of the lordship of Villena and the Crown of Castile. The municipality has the title of Villa since 1476, earning the independence of Alarcón due to the support given to Queen Isabel I, the Catholic during the War of Castilian Succession, in which Diego López Pacheco, Marquis of Villena and Lord of Alarcón, fought in favor of the other candidate for the throne of Castile, Juana la Beltraneja.

In the Spanish Civil War was one of the bases of the leftist Republican  Army and the International Brigades. In Villanueva de la Jara were George Orwell, Willy Brandt and Josip Broz Tito among many others, within the International Brigades, the Comitern and the Lincoln Brigade. On the outskirts of the town there are bunkers of what was an airfield during wartime.

A bit on the Convent of the Carmelites.

The Convent of the Carmelites was founded by Santa Teresa de Jesús in 1580. It is composed of Church,Convent and Cloister. It is an isolated building that forms a whole block and surrounded by walls. Inside, the 17C paintings of the altarpiece stand out, as well as a magnificent Mudejar-style wooden roof that covers the presbytery forming a 32-pointed star. It also highlights the tomb of Venerable Ana de San Agustín, who was in  charge  of the convent once Santa Teresa left Villanueva de la Jara. It is located at Calle Santa Ana.

Villanueva de la jara

Teresa, the Carmelite Saint, wanderer, arrived a cold February 21, 1580 to institute her Rule to some pious women, and project her convent around the Hermitage of Santa Ana. Everything happened to her in La Jara. During the days that she remained in the town, until breaking an arm, next to the well, the same that today presides over the garden. After her step she left her companion, today Venerable Ana de San Agustín, whose body rests at the foot of the Church, next to the Choir. And the Saint, restless and enterprising, not only left her footprints in the work of her daughters; the friars of Socorro were brought up, to raise them around the devotion of the local Patron ,a carving of the 14C brought from Rome, the Convent of Carmen, of which today the immense Church remains.  The highlight of the temple, without a doubt, is the beautiful coffered ceiling that is preserved to perfection. The Church has three beautiful altarpieces, as well as two low Choirs and one high Choir. Inside is the venerated sepulcher of Ana de San Agustín.

villanueva de la jara

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Villanueva de la Jara on its history

Tourist office of Province of Cuenca on the town sites

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Convent

The Barefoot Carmelites of the Convent of Santa Ana of Villanueva de la Jara ,13C.   founded by Santa Teresa de Jesus, it was now done for her 500 years built  a Teresian center, on last February 21, the date on which the Saint arrived at the town in 1580. The Center, which represents an interpretation of the book of the Moradas de Santa Teresa de Jesús (lodgings of Saint Teresa of Jesus), can be visited from the week following its inauguration by all those who are interested in following the traces of Teresa. Visits to say Center will be arranged through the Municipal Tourism Office of Villanueva de la Jara.

More here in Spanish:Tourist office of region of La Manchuela on the Teresian center

villanueva de la jara

And there you go ,now another off the beaten path gem of my beautiful Castilla La Mancha in my beloved Spain. Enjoy Villanueva de la Jara and its Convent.

And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!


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