More of the Monasterio San Juan de la Peña !!!

Again, found me older pictures not in my blog that they should, I have written before long on description and history of the place, but let me use these pictures to tell you a bit more on the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña in Santa Cruz de la Seros province of Huesca, Autonomous Community of Aragon, and in my Kingdom of Spain, This is an off the beaten path monument that must be visited for a wonderful experience. Hope you enjoy the post as I.


We were in my road warrior trails in the province of Hueca, (see posts), and getting into the tourist office got me  a pamphlet about this monastery. I was intrigue and went for it, a pleasant find indeed, Going for it we went thru mountain passes that was awesome, and took longer, then on the way back we took a more flat road. The Monastery of San Juan de la Peña is located 23 km from Jaca and 2 km from the village of Santa Cruz de la Serós, Also , 74 km from Huesca, 145 km from Zaragoza, and 460 km from Madrid. We drove from Jaca after coming back from Sabiñanigo, (see post) on the N330a. We took the mountainous 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. This bus is free provided by the 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 on a flatter terrain !

The Monastery of San Juan de la Peña 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. First a royal pantheon for the Crown of Aragon and its nobles, today it is the essential crossing point for pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela, Here we have proof of the importance that this cenobitic center had gained, becoming one of the most symbolic places of the Aragonese monarchy. Importance revealed by the decision to be buried there with their wives, the first three kings of the dynasty: Ramiro I, Sancho Ramirez and Pedro I.


During the restoration works in 1987, the royal pantheon was discovered. Archaeologists found twenty seven tombs, including the tombs of the three first kings of Aragón and their families. Today we can see the lids of three of these sarcophagus : Ramiro I´s (first King of Aragon), Pedro I´s (3rd King of Aragon) and Pedro’s daughter´s tomb. Inside, two gold rings and two ivory die (that are now in the museum of Huesca) were found. the Romanesque upper church, the so called Sala de Concilio or council room which was actually the monks sleeping quarters but gets its name from a royal meeting that was held there and the nobles pantheon described above.


The 12C Romanesque Cloister is one of the most spectacular parts of the monastery. It features some of the best preserved carvings from this era in Aragon.  The carvings were sculpted by Master Aguëro and the capitals above each pillar tell the bible story from Adam and Eve to the resurrection of Christ.


The facade of the new monastery building is impressive of a baroque 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. The official Hospederia San Juan de la Peña :

The most important relic was the Holy Grail, the chalice that Jesus Christ used during the last supper. Legend tells that in the year 258, the Holy Grail remained guarded in Rome during the mandate of Pope Sixto II who was eventually caught and tortured. Before this, he entrusted the Holy Grail and other relics to his deacon Saint Lorenzo, who was born in Huesca. Saint Lorenzo was tortured too when he refused to deliver the relics or reveal where he had hidden them. The family of Saint Lorenzo guarded the chalice in San Pedro’s church in Huesca, where it remained until 711, when the Muslims invaded Spain. The Holy Grail was quickly removed to a more remote and secret location. ; approximately a century later, the Holy Grail was moved again, this time to the Cathedral of Jaca. Finally, in 1076, Sancho Ramirez, (2nd King of Aragón), brought the Grail to San Juan de la Peña monastery where it remained until 1399. King Martín I removed the cup to the chapel of his royal palace La Aljaferia in Zaragoza. When the monks asked for it back he tricked them with a replica. When the King of Valencia acceded to the Aragonese throne he took the Grail back to Valencia Cathedral (see post) where it has remained until today. The replica Grail at San Juan was destroyed by the fire of 1675 but a replica of the replica is on display in the old monastery. Historians have tested the Holy Grail in Valencia and have discovered that underneath the additions of the 9C, 15C, and 16C lies a Roman agate cup.

The official Monasterio de San Juan de la Peña:

The local Jacetania region tourist office on the monastery:

The city of Jaca on the monastery :

There you go folks, a hugely wonderful monument for all to see, is a must me think , Another marvel of my dear 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. Again, hope you enjoy it as I

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

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