Monastery of San Jeronimo de Yuste

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The Monastery of San Jeronimo de Yuste is about 20 minutes away from the Paradore at Jarandilla de la Vera and it was the site to which Charles V, King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, retired in 1556 and where he died two years later.

A brief history

The Hieronymites, or the Order of St Jerome, were founded as a closed order near Toledo in the 14th century. In 1373 Pope Gregory recognised the monks as a religious order operating according to the teachings of St Augustine and followers of St Jerome.( The Monastery of the Escorial belonged to this order.) During the Confiscations decreed by Mendizabal in the 1830s the Monastery at Yuste was sold, and the Hieronymite Monasteries were suppressed. The Marquis of Maribel bought the site and began restorations in the 1850s. The Monastery was destroyed in the Peninsular War but restored by the government after WWII. In 2012 only one monastery of the order still exists, St Mary of Parral outside Segovia .

The Monastery of San Jeronimo de Yuste dates from 1408-1414. It has two cloisters, a church and monastery quarters, and a residence built on to the Church for the Emperor.

Monastery of San Jeronimo of Yuste
Monastery of Yuste with the King’s palace facing the pond
Monastery of San Jeronimo of Yuste
Plan of the Monastery and Royal residence at Yuste

The Monastery

The Monastery has a very beautiful setting and a peaceful atmosphere, despite the groups of tourists. If you are in the area it is worth visiting.

Monastery of Yuste Gothic Cloister
The Gothic Cloister

The Palace

Charles V abdicated as King of Spain in favour of his son, Philip II of Spain, and as Holy Roman Emperor in favour of his brother Ferdinand I. The King wanted to retire to the Monastery at Yuste and so his rooms were built on in 1554-55 and while they were building the king lived in the Paradore of Jarandilla, the Castle of the Counts of Oropesa. Oddly, his last journey in Spain started in Laredo, near Limpias, on the north Spanish coast.

The Royal residence1 overlooks a small courtyard (filled with flowers) and the pond where the Emperor used to fish. Beyond that lay the gardens of the monastery and the Vera Valley.

Monastery of Yuste
Royal residence (R), courtyard, fishpond and Vera Valley beyond

The German Cemetery

The German cemetery at Cuacus de Yuste is a curious and lonely cemetery on the hill below the Monastery. Here lie 26 German soldiers who died in WWI and 154 from WWII. Some washed up on Spanish shores as a result of U-boats being sunk; others were killed when planes crashed in Spain. In 1983 the German government brought together all the scattered graves in this cemetery, the only German military cemetery in Spain. A little book has stories about the site.

The visit to the Monastery of Yuste was fascinating but as we headed back to the Paradore of Jarandilla I knew I was in serious trouble.

I had bent down that morning to fasten my shoes and felt ‘something’ slip in my back. I couldn’t walk around the Monastery unaided, but by the next morning I couldn’t walk at all without experiencing excruciating pain and the Paradore directed us to the Emergency Medical Centre across the road from the hotel. Within an hour I had explained the problem to the receptionist, seen a helpful doctor, had a very strong (and painful) anti-inflammatory injection, been to the pharmacy for anti-inflammatory pills (and PPIs to counter their effect) and was back in the Paradore, flat on my back. It all cost €8 and it would have been very different in London!

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