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19 junio 2024

La Cartuja de las Fuentes, from abandonment to treasure

Although most of its visitors are Aragonese, this monument from Montserrat, property of the Provincial Council of Huesca, receives with relative frequency foreign tourists from the most remote places of the world geography, such as Australians, Filipinos, Japanese or Chinese. Since the guided tours were launched in 2015, the average per year already stands at 7,000 people, but an increase is expected; precisely linked to the fact that more and more spaces have been rehabilitated within the monastic complex and of course, due to its mural paintings.

The Carthusian monastery of Nuestra Señora de las Fuentes is a unique place, of course due to its architecture of almost 6,000 square meters built, but above all because of the mural paintings of Fray Manuel Bayeu, brother-in-law of Goya, which are estimated to total at least 2,000 square meters on walls and ceilings of the conventual church, cloister of chapels and other rooms.

Its rehabilitation is an investment that is beginning to bear fruit. Thus, there is no longer scaffolding covering the interior of the church. It has taken two years of hard work so that visitors can enjoy the paintings in the central nave, the tribune, the transept and the chancel. Even during the course of the work, a relevant discovery was made, since one of the most deteriorated canvases confirms precisely the close professional relationship of the author with his brother, Francisco Bayeu, painter of the court of Carlos III, and with his brother-in-law, Francisco de Goya.

The work is currently being concentrated in the area of the cloister and the chapels, protecting the monument from below, preventing all the water in the subsoil from damaging the walls. The deterioration and ruin, almost poetic, are giving way to the recovery of the monument’s splendor. As the architect of DPH, Laura Puyal, explains, “first we protect the architectural environment of the paintings and then we are recovering them, because with the passage of time, they have deteriorated a lot”. Puyal encourages the public to come to La Cartuja de Las Fuentes because “we are adding visitable areas and they will continuously see changes”.

José Miguel Pesqué, coordinator of the actions, concludes that “the perspective is that not only the number of visits will grow but also the use of the spaces of the Charterhouse, which will be in 4 or 5 years’ time when we will have sufficient services and infrastructure to be able to host different events”.

It should be recalled that the guided tours are free and are developed in two shifts on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, at 11 am and 12.30 pm. Reservations can be made through the web www.dphuesca.es

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