ROYAL MONASTERY OF SANTA MARÍA DEL PUIG
The Puig monastery is located in the same village that bears its name, (el Puig means “hill” in valencian language) situated 12 km north of the city of Valencia.
History – Convent – Sanctuary
This monastery owes its origin to the discovery of an image of Mary image, at the top of the hill under a bell, by San Pedro Nolasco, (founder of the Order of Mercy in 1237) while Jaime I el conquistador and his troops prepared for the conquest of the nearby city. This image is preserved in the Main Chapel of the Sanctuary, and there it can be visited. Jaime I the Conqueror considered the protection of the Virgin as a determining and effective cause of the conquest of the Kingdom of Valencia, and proclaimed Saint Mary of El Puig as Patroness of the conquered Kingdom. He erected the first temple to the heavenly Lady of the rescued lands, and wanted that the religious Mercedarian to be the perpetual guardians of the sanctuary.
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The monastery comprises two different architectural elements: the convent itself (residence of the religious) and the Sanctuary of the Patron Saint of the Kingdom of Valencia; Both elements constitute the grandiose rectangular mass, flanked by four solid towers, which stands out against the green area of the horchard garden and the surrounding urban construction.
The Valencian people always came to the sanctuary of Santa María del Puig on fervent and continuous pilgrimages. King Jaime I, Alfonso X el Sabio, Pedro III el Grande, Pedro el Cruel, Felipe III and our current kings emeritus D. Juan Carlos I and Doña Sofía paid homage to Santa María del Puig; also in front of the image, the Popes Benedicto XIII, Calixto III Alejandro VI, the Archbishops Santo Tomas de Villanueva, San Juan de Ribera, and the other Valentin prelates, without exception to this day, humiliated their tiaras.
The construction of the current convent, with an “escurialense” plan and style began with the blessing of San Juan de Ribera, in 1588, the day of the laying of the first stone in the foundations of the southeast tower. Its architect was Antón Dexado de la Cossa.
Two cloisters can be visited during the tour:
The first contains the Refectory of the community, and especially a Gothic hall, in addition to the four wings in which several paintings by José Vergara (1726-1799) are exhibited, in the center, and from the four wings of the cloister you can access the central courtyard.
In the second one you can also admire paintings by different authors and themes: Vergara, Espinosa, etc. In addition there is the Royal Hall, the Hall of the Order of Knights of Puig, several showcases with ornaments and old images, etc. From here you can Access the Church.
Sanctuary: The construction of the current building was started by Admiral Don Roger de Lauria, in 1300, continued by his wife, Mrs. Saurina de Entenza, and completed (in the middle of the fourteenth century) by their daughter, Mrs. Margarita de Lauria and Entensa.
The temple is rectangular in plan, with three naves with ribbed vaults supported by robust pilasters, presided over by the Main Chapel Presbytery with a square apse, in the style of the visigothic temples. The Camarín de la Virgen (Virgin’s chamber) is located behind the sanctuary’s main chapel, and it is decorated by the academic painter José Vergara, which tradition goes about the image of Our Lady of El Puig: That the angels made it from a stone from the tomb of Mary; that they brought her to El Puig; that here apostles and monks worshiped her; that the monks buried her under a bell during the Muslim invasion; which was later found; and that D. Jaime I deposited at the feet of the heavenly Lady the keys to the city of Valencia when he received them from the Moorish king Zeyán.
The current church preceded in time, that of a single nave built by order of Jaime I, in 1238 and delivered to the Order of Mercy by the king in 1240, of which only the extraordinary façade remains, and that was transferred from its original location to the lateral place it occupies today.
The Camarín de la Virgen (Virgin’s chamber) is located behind the sanctuary’s main chapel, and it is decorated by the academic painter José Vergara, which tradition goes about the image of Our Lady of El Puig: That the angels made it from a stone from the tomb of Mary; that they brought her to El Puig; that here apostles and monks worshiped her; that the monks buried her under a bell during the Muslim invasion; which was later found; and that D. Jaime I deposited at the feet of the heavenly Lady the keys to the city of Valencia when he received them from the Moorish king Zeyán.
Also the Printing Museum, is located in this place, it was opened in 1985 and remodeled and expanded between 2007 and 2008. It was the first in Spain, and according to records, it is the second most important in Europe after Mainz.
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