Monastery and sanctuary
The Monastery owes its origin to the discovery of the image of Our Lady at the summit of the hill (Puig in valenciano means hill). The discovery was made by Saint Pedro Nolasco, the founder of the Order of Mercy, in 1237.
This image is conserved in "La Capilla Mayor" and there you will be able to worship her.
At the time of the discovery, the followers of King Jaime I were preparing for the conquest of the near by capital, Valencia. Jaime I conquered the kingdom of Valencia and considered our Lady's protection as decisive. He proclaimed her as the Patron Saint of the conquered lands and erected a temple to our lady.
The monastery is divided into two architectural elements: the monastery already mentioned (where the monks live) and the sanctuary of the Patron Saint of the Kingdom of Valencia. They both form magnificent rectangular stone building, flanked by four solid towers. The people of Valencia have always made the pilgramage to visit Santa Maria de El Puig. King Jaime I,
King Alfonso X El Sabio, King Pedro III El Grande, King Pedro El Cruel, King Felipe III and the current monarchs King Don Juan Carlos I and Queen Dona Sofia have paid tribute to Santa Maria de El Puig. The Popes Benedicto XIII, Calixto III and Alejandro VI and the archbishops Santo Tomas de Villanueva, San Juan de Ribera have all worshiped Our Lady here.
Construction of the current monastery started on 1st September 1588. San Juan de Ribera blessed the foundation stone in the southeast turret. The architect and chief of works was Anton Dexado de la Cossa.
The entrance to the monastery is on the eastern side which can be reached by the access ramps from Painter Peyro Street to the North and the Avenue of
the Virgin of El Puig to the South
Visitors to the monastery can walk through two cloisters:
The first contains the refectory, a chapel and a gothic hall, as well as the four wings where several pictures by Jose Vergara (1726-1799) are displayed. Here you can also find the printing museum. One can access the main patio from the centre and from the four wings of the cloisters.
In the second cloister, one can admire the work of Vergara and Espinosa among others, as well as the Royal drawing room, the drawing room of the "Orden de Caballeros del Puig", various glass cabinets with ancient ornaments and pictures. From here, one can access the church.
The construction of the current building was begun by Admiral Roger de Lauria in 1300 and continued by his wife, Saurina de Entenza and concluded during the middle of the XIV century by their daughter, Margarita.
The rectangular sanctuary has three naves, with arched transepts supported by strong pillars it measures 26.4 by 16 metres (not including the depth of the side chapels) presided over by the main chapel in the style of the visigothic temples.
The current church was preceded by a single nave built on the order of King Jaime I in 1238. In July 1240 this was given to the Order of Mercy by the king. The front has been preserved as it was and it has been transferred from its original position to where it lays today.
The image of the virgin is situated behind "La Capilla Mayor". The dome shell and walls were painted by Jose Vergara in 1781. The story goes that it was made by angels from a stone of Our Lady's tomb, brought to El Puig where apostles and monks worshiped her. It is said that the monks buried her under a bell during the Muslim invasion, and that it was found by King Jaime I who gave the keys of the city of Valencia to Our Lady when he received them from the Moorish King Zeyan
GUIDED VISITS TO THE REAL MONASTERY
The Royal Monastery can be visited only by guided tour.
Guided tours are:
From Tuesday to Saturday at 10h, 11h, 12h, 16h and 17h
On Sundays at 12 noon
(On Mondays the Royal Monastery remains closed)
Visits are usually in Spanish. They are also carried out in Valencian and in English. Sundays only in Spanish.
The entrance fee is € 4 (€ 3 for groups of more than 35 people)
The access is made by the ramp located between the two car parks (Av. Verge de Puig)
The Monastery is not adapted for the handicapped.
During the visit you will see:
In the Cloister under: a wing of the cloister, the unglazed, the Gothic Salon (with a collection of faximiles), the Chapel of the Community and the Refectory.
In the upper cloister: the whole cloister, the Church (where you will find the Image of the Virgin of El Puig and the tomb of the religious Mercedarian Fr. Juan Gilabert Jofré), the Camarin de la Virgen (with paintings by Vergara) Royal and a collection of liturgical ornaments.
Groups of more than 35 people must make a reservation by calling 961470200
If you wish to visit only the Church, you can do it during the opening hours of the Temple, half an hour before the Eucharist. Entering through the door of the Church.