Granada

1582
Granada is an age-old city and a melting pot of cultures; it is the birthplace of poetry and flamenco, a land of knowledge and cultural reference in southern Europe; a place of unique beauty and imposing historical and human heritage and legacy.

Flanked by the white slopes of the mountain range, the green of the river plains, the crystal-clear blue of the tropical coast and the natural paths of La Alpujarra, Granada's charisma is unique. And the magnificent countryside combines with the unique attraction of the city and its quarters, which have their own particular charm: from El Realejo to El Albaicín, the historical centre and Sacromonte.

The grandeur of what was once a Nazari kingdom has left behind indelible marks on the urban landscape, crowned by one of the most outstanding world heritage sites: the Alhambra Palace, the Gardens of El Generalife and El Albaicín.

Granada is the Islamic past, Mudejar art, the Boabdil route and the rebirth of so many churches and convents dotted around the historical centre, with the Cathedral at the fore. It is also our city of the Gothic Isabelline style of the Royal Chapel and the Carthusian Baroque style; together with an impressive array of patios and villas with their gardens and wells that offer the sound of the water as it flows through the city.

The spirit of the most universal poets and thinkers is with us. Granada is Lorca, Falla and Ganivet; it is historical past, human heritage, art and music on every corner; land of talent, place of festivals, age-old University, tradition and modernity all at the same time.

And, of course, Granada is St Teresa, it is the Carmelite Order, it is St John of the Cross and the places of the foundation that mark the city's emblematic locations, of unique value.

 

Teresian Places

The monastery of San José de Granada was the sixteenth and penultimate convent to be founded by St Teresa.

St John of the Cross, who was sent as the Superior of the Convent of the Barefoot Carmelites of Los Mártires, went to pick her up from Ávila, with an order to bring her to this city and set up the Carmelite Order. But Teresa was ill and busy preparing the foundation in Burgos, which was the last one she was to complete herself. As she was unable to come in person, she appointed as founder and prioress M. Ana de Jesús (Lobera), who was nicknamed 'the captain of the prioresses' and to whom St John of the Cross was to later dedicate his Spiritual Canticle when they were both in Granada. She also chose the other sisters who were to start the life of the female Barefoot Carmelite Order in Granada. The founders arrived in Granada on 20 January 1582 and the life of this monastery began and has not been interrupted since.

The current building, located in what might be considered the entrance to the historical and typical quarter of Granada, known as El Realejo, at the start of the important Calle S. Matías, was acquired in 1584 and the nuns moved there on 8 November of said year. Since then, they have lived in this building and have maintained and sustained it with much effort and interest. The first owner recorded in history was Don Gonzalo Fernández de Aguilar y de Córdoba, known more popularly as the Great Captain. The house, which is formally a Moorish Palace, fell to him as booty of war. He spent his final years here and died in it in 1515, as mentioned on the commemorative plaque on the building front.

While the building was being reinforced and adapted, the nuns lived in the upper part of the house only, occupying small, impoverished rooms used as attics. At this time, the nuns were attended spiritually and at times helped materially by St John of the Cross, prior of Los Mártires. He said mass for them every day and, as there was no church or more appropriate place, he did so in a small room in one of the attics in the house. During the 431 years the community has lived in the building, it has been conserved as a shrine, carefully looking after the memory of the presence of St John of the Cross.
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