Montesion Monastery

It is located about three kilometers from Cazorla, along the road to San Isicio, bordering and ascending the northern slope of the Salvatierra hill. This construction is accessed almost unexpectedly, being sheltered behind some stone cuts that isolate it from the northern air, presenting the magnificent construction its walls to the south and west.

His religious name is that of the Montesión Desert, as he calls the order of hermits of San Antonio and San Pablo, to these places. It was founded, according to its founding plaque, by San Julián Ferrer, after the Virgin Mary appeared in a cave next to the chapel. Its construction is quite uneven in quality and completion, highlighting especially the southern part, where the chapel is located. The rest has undergone considerable remodeling, especially after the confiscation of Mendizábal, and lately, from the seventies, with the return of the hermit brothers who conditioned some of their parts.

The most interesting area architecturally is that of the monastery chapel. It is small, rectangular or «living room» with three ships originally, subsequently modified to a Latin cross plan with a single nave.
The main nave is covered with a half-barrel vault, the two sides of the cross and in the center, a magnificent dome held on tubes. The whole set with very balanced proportions. At the entrance it presents a choir, added from later.

In its day, this chapel had a Baroque altarpiece, which disappeared during the civil war, however fresco paintings are preserved in its vaults, especially those in the dome, with portraits of many other holy hermits and Marian litanies in the gallons of your dome
In the paintings of the cruise ships, scenes and symbols are observed that have to do with the passion of Christ, adorned with other animalistic and figurative representations of various kinds.

The paintings of the main nave are of another «hand», that is, they had to be quite later in time, since both the pigments and the stroke are far from the quality of the previous ones.

On the south facade of the chapel, today quite out of sight, there is a cover with a splendid semicircular arch, with a very sober stonework, which was later blinded, to build the current crypt.

The rest of the building, although architecturally it is not so important, if it is to understand the way of life of these hermits, their lacks and austerity, all with an arrangement of rooms developed from the chapel and adapting to the topography of the place . The beauty of these spaces lies in their simplicity, withdrawal and lacking any comfort, which make this construction, a place where we can still imagine the ways of life of a few centuries ago.

At present, this building is inhabited by a brother of the order (brother Antonio) who perpetuates the daily routine of prayer and recollection.
The monastery should not have been built in its entirety, it had different phases, perhaps its origins are from the end of the 16th century, although its foundation is from 1625 in full swing of the monacal movement in Spain, after the counter-reform.
Every year, on the last Sunday of September, the Pilgrimage of the Virgin of Montesión is carried out, which is walked around the monastery.