Monasterio San Juan de la Peña part II !!!

So as usual lately digging into my vault of pictures, I found several that needs to be in my blog and would allow me to expand on this off the beaten path marvel of Aragon. I , do my road warrior trip, this time base in Jaca and took to this  remote area and to me of the hidden wonders of the world. Let me share with you this one as new text and older pictures that needs to be told to the world. The San Juan de la Peña Monastery is awesome!! Hope you enjoy the post as I, and see part I in my blog.


As it goes driving around and walking  in Jaca province of Huesca in the autonomous region of Aragon, stop by the tourist office and voilà  got me  a pamphlet about this monastery. As usual as it seems and close by I went for it and was the hightlight of the trip with memorable moments for the family. The Monasterio de San Juan de la Peña is worth a detour!! It is located 23 km from Jaca and 2 km from the village of Santa Cruz de la Serós.

The Monastery of San Juan de la Peña consists of two constructions: the monasterio nuevo or new monastery dating from the 17C and in Baroque style, and the monasterio viejo or old monastery, from the 10C, in Romanesque style. The monastery was built in the 10C on the site of a hermitage. The Iglesia baja or lower church of Mozarabic style, was the first building built. This was consecrated in 920. Sancho the Great of Navarre founded a new center in 1025. A new Romanesque church was built. The Chapel of San Victorián was built in the 15C. Following a fire in the 17C, the monastery had to be rebuilt, this time adopting the Baroque style. However, it is the splendid Romanesque cloister that attracts visitors.

As a result of the Arab invasion, a group of hermits took refuge in the so-called Monte Pano and created a Visigothic monastery that would reach the 10C. Later, Galindo Aznárez II, Count of Aragón, conquered the lands south of the Aragón River and founded a Mozarabic church that he dedicated to saints Julián and Basilisa. Of the remains of this church or monastery are the current buildings attached to the Sala de Concilios or communal Dormitories, On this original church, King Sancho Ramírez ordered the construction of the current Romanesque church and the rest of the monastery’s dependencies. The king built this monastery for a royal pantheon. From the beginning he endowed it with large extensions of land and benefits. The Romanesque church was blessed on December 4, 1094 by the Bishop of Jaca in the presence of King Pedro I, who finished the work of his father.



The Monasterio Viejo de San Juan de la Peña or old monastery , also called Royal Monastery of San Juan de la Peña is hidden between the rugged rocky walls of the Sierra de San Juan de la Peña, in a place that seems like the last corner of the world. The location is surprising; it was built under a huge rock that offers a disturbing protection. Its documented origin dates back to the 10C, with the foundation of a small monastic center dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. It was in the 11C when the center was expanded and became the pantheon of the kings of Aragon and Navarre, and one of the most important monasteries of the Kingdom of Aragon. Today, the exceptional Romanesque cloister stands out from the complex, under the rock. In addition to the cloister, you will, also find, in different states of conservation, the pre-Romanesque church and the council room (ground floor), the pantheon of nobles and kings, the upper church (11C), the Gothic chapel of San Victorián and the museum.


Santa Cruz de la Seros mon sj pena old ch hall aug14

The Monastery of San Juan de la Peña to understand the construction of a new monastery in the so-called San Indalecio meadow just a few hundred meters above, we must remember the serious fire that broke out in 1675 in the Romanesque enclosure that left it in a sorry state. In 1682, the monks left the old monastery and moved to what we know today as the New Monastery. Apart from the oldest remains of the communal dormitory and the Mozarabic church, whose naves are joined by horseshoe arches, and still today They are perfectly distinguishable, the so-called Panteón de Nobles stands out in the monastery, covered by the rock and attached to the old sacristy (current Royal Pantheón). The most important piece of San Juan de la Peña is undoubtedly its cloister, which although very modified , retains the original capitals. In the iconography the main milestones of the history of humanity can be followed through the Old and New Testaments. The one known as the New San Juan de la Peña Monastery (17-18C), dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, is located in the San Indalecio meadow, a kilometer and a half from the Old Monastery. Abandoned in the mid-19C, it has recently undergone extensive restoration to transform it into a guesthouse and the headquarters of two interpretation centres: the San Juan de la Peña and the Kingdom of Aragon.



It was in the Monastary of San Juan de la Peña where the Holy Chalice or Grail was deposited, which Christ used in the Last Supper. Pope Sixtus handed it over to the deacon San Lorenzo, who sent it to Huesca, where it remained until the Muslim invasion, when it was taken to San Juan, until 1399, the year in which Martin I “The Human” sent for the relic to bring it to the Aljafería in Zaragoza. Alfonso V of Aragon sent the Grail to Valencia in 1424 and it has been venerated in the St Mary’s Cathedral ever since.

The official Monasterio de San Juan de la Peña :

The city of Jaca on the monastery:

The local metro area of Jacetania on the monastery:

The Aragon region tourist board on the monastery

There you go folks, all you need to convince you to come and see this marvel of Aragon and my Spain. The Monastery of San Juan de la Pena is a hidden gem that needs to be seen by all at least once in your lifetime. Enjoy it as we did!

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

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