A dream for art and architecture lovers in Seville

A historical Carthusian monastery featuring evidence of 19th century industrial architecture and that today hosts exhibitions of contemporary art? Yes! It is not a dream of an art and architecture lover. It is a reality and it is in Seville. Let us tell you more about it…

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Beautiful religious and industrial architecture mixture in Seville

The banks of the Guadalquivir river have been famous for their clays throughout history. Actually, it’s known that the area where this magical building stands today was populated with numerous clay ovens during Muslim times.

After the Christian conquest of Seville in 1248, clay continued to be extracted from the caves of the area by Christian potters and a sculpture of the Virgin Mary was found by chance in one of those caves.

The sculpture was therefore named “The Virgin of the Caves” and a shrine was built at the very spot where it was found. Devotion for the image grew over the years with the belief of its miraculous powers and the first monks came to the area to support the devout and other pilgrims.

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The virgin of the caves with a group of monks

In 1400, a Monastery started to be built with the help of some noble families from Seville and by the end of the 15th century, Carthusian monks came to live in it.

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One of the cloisters of the former Charterhouse

The monastic life of this charterhouse inspired many of the works of Zurbarán, one of the most representative Spanish painters of the 17th century. Some of them can be seen in the museum of fine art of Seville.

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Carthusian monks of Seville’s Charterhouse painted by Zurbarán

The Monastery of Saint Mary of the Caves was a place of prayer and silence (only interrupted by the French invasion between 1810 and 1812) until 1836, when major convents and monasteries in Spain were abolished.

In 1839, a businessman from Liverpool bought the monastery to start there a ceramics factory.

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Former entrance to the ceramics factory

19th century industrial clay ovens and chimneys were added to the the site providing it with the shape and lines it shows today. The factory became internationally renowned for the refinement of its ceramics and it functioned until 1982.

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Chimneys and ovens built in the 19th century in the former Monastery

In 1997, the site became the Andalusian centre of Contemporary Art. A magical space filled with history and a fascinating mixture of architecture styles, where one can see both permanent and temporary art exhibitions.

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Contemporary art installations in a former Charterhouse

 The place is also the scenario for Seville’s most important contemporary pop music festival, called territorios, which takes place every year in May. Also, during the summer nights, contemporary pop music fills the gardens of the former monastery, with a program of concerts called nocturama.

We very much enjoy history, art, architecture and music so we are regular visitors to this hidden gem of Seville. If you would like to discover Seville with us, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be delighted to share our expertise and passion for the city with you and your party.

2 Responses so far.

  1. Caroline Bourquin says:

    Hello.
    I found your site today and I wanted to inform you that we are the managers of the Cartuja de Cazalla de la Sierra, only 80 kms from Seville city.
    We would be very interested to meet you in order to establish contact and perhaps future collaboration.

    We are a national monument, Cultural heritage site and a private property. Open to the public on weekends and national holidays, and we receive groups any day of the week with prior booking.

    We have a newly asphalted road from the village of Cazalla. We have accommodation for 24 guests, many nature and cultural sites to visit in the area and we are in the midst of the parque natural Sierra norte.

    Pls check our website
    lacartujadecazalla.com
    Twitter @cartujacazalla

    We look forward to your visit.

    Best regards and thank you.
    Caroline Bourquin
    617271024
    Manager
    Monasterio la Cartuja de Cazalla

    • Ivan says:

      Thank you Caroline,
      we have been there visiting and we very much liked it.
      We’ll be in touch to discuss a collaboration.
      Kindest regards
      Ivan from Genuine Andalusia