Photographer's Note

The Monastery of Santa Clara la Real is a monastic group of the Order of the Poor Clares located in the city of Murcia (Region of Murcia, Spain). It dates back to the 14th century, occupying what used to be the old Alczar Seguir (minor alczar) of the 13th century.1 It is one of the most important historical buildings in the city, since it has remains of the Arab palace (the most important of the Islamic art from Murcia). The monastery also has a Gothic cloister and choir, and a Baroque church.

Part of the building is currently the Santa Clara Museum, while in the west wing is the Las Claras Cultural Center of Caja Murcia.
The origins of the occupation of this plot, located outside the walls of the Arab medina of Murcia, in the northern part of the Arrixaca suburb, residential area with water availability of the Acequia Mayor Aljufa (which runs along the south side of the monastery), it is necessary to look for them in the palace of recreation that the taifa king of Murcia Ibn Mardanis (the Wolf King) built during his prosperous reign (1147-1172).

This primitive fortress, called Al Dar al Sugra, which remains today, was partially destroyed after the capture of the city by the Almohads in 1172.

Later, with the creation of the Third Taifa of Murcia, the King of Murcia, Ibn Hud al Mutawakkil, built between 1228 and 1238, on the same site as the previous palace, the one known as Alczar Seguir (minor palace), also conceived as a palace of recreation located in the aforementioned residential area of the Arrixaca, which in those years experienced an important urban expansion.

Most of the valuable archaeological remains that the patrimonial group keeps are from the Alczar Seguir, in fact the current monastery of the Poor Clares was built using part of the structure of the old Muslim palace. The possessions of the Muslim royal family were completed with the Alcazar Nasir (Alczar Mayor), the official residence of the monarch who was to the south of the medina, bordering the Segura River.

In 1238, Ibn Hud died assassinated in Almeria. In 1243 the Treaty of Alcaraz was signed, by which the Taifa of Murcia became a protectorate of the Crown of Castile, maintaining the autonomy of the Muslims. In compliance with the treaty, the Alczar Mayor was occupied by a Christian garrison so that the Alcazar Seguir went from being a recreational palace to permanent residence of the Murcian royal family, headed at that time by Ibn Hud al-Dawla (uncle of the previous ), which was still entitled "King of Murcia"

After the Mudejar Revolt of 1264-1266 was suppressed by King Jaime I of Aragon and the city was definitively under Christian control, the Alczar Menor became the Royal House of the Castilian monarchy. Such illustrious figures as Alfonso X the Wise, Violante de Aragn and Jaime I of Aragn resided long periods in their stays on the occasion of their visits to the kingdom of Murcia.

At this time, the palatine estate, which included not only the palace but other constructions, baths, orchards and gardens, was subdivided and handed over to various beneficiaries, including the King of Castile himself and his family, with the Real de la Reina or the farm of the infant Don Fernando among others. King James I resided in both spaces during his new stay in the city during 1274.

Previously, the Christian monarchs had already given the Franciscans a part of the palatine estate, but it was in 1365 when Pedro I the Cruel donated his palatial stays to the abbess Berenguela de Espn and the Order of the Poor Sisters of Santa Clara, staying in their property to this day.

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El Monasterio de Santa Clara la Real es un conjunto monstico de la orden de las Clarisas situado en la ciudad de Murcia (Regin de Murcia, Espaa). Tiene su origen en el siglo XIV, ocupando lo que fue el antiguo Alczar Seguir (alczar menor) musulmn del siglo XIII.1 Es uno de los edificios histricos ms importantes de la ciudad al disponer de restos del palacio rabe (los ms importantes del arte islmico murciano). El monasterio cuenta tambin con un claustro y coro gticos, y una iglesia barroca.

Parte del edificio es actualmente el Museo de Santa Clara, mientras que en el ala oeste se sita el Centro Cultural Las Claras de Caja Murcia.
Los orgenes de la ocupacin de este solar, situado fuera de las murallas de la medina rabe de Murcia, en la parte norte del arrabal de la Arrixaca, zona residencial con disponibilidad de aguas de la Acequia Mayor Aljufa (que transcurre por el lado sur del monasterio), hay que buscarlos en el palacio de recreo que el rey taifa murciano Ibn Mardanis (el Rey Lobo) edific durante su prspero reinado (1147-1172).

Este alczar primitivo, denominado Al Dar al Sugra, del cual quedan restos actualmente, fue parcialmente destruido tras la toma de la ciudad por los almohades en 1172.

Posteriormente, con la creacin de la Tercera taifa de Murcia, el rey murciano Ibn Hud al Mutawkkil construy entre 1228 y 1238, en el mismo solar que el palacio anterior, el conocido como Alczar Seguir (alczar menor), concebido as mismo como un palacio de recreo situado en la referida zona residencial de la Arrixaca, que en aquellos aos vivi una importante expansin urbana.

La mayor parte de los valiosos restos arqueolgicos que guarda el conjunto patrimonial son del Alczar Seguir, de hecho el monasterio de las clarisas actual se edific utilizando parte de la estructura del antiguo palacio musulmn. Las posesiones de la familia real musulmana se completaban con el Alczar Nasir (alczar mayor), la residencia oficial del monarca que se encontraba al sur de la medina, ribereo al ro Segura.

En 1238, Ibn Hud muri asesinado en Almera. En 1243 se firm el Tratado de Alcaraz, por el que la Taifa de Murcia se convirti en un protectorado de la Corona de Castilla, manteniendo la autonoma de los musulmanes. En cumplimiento del tratado, el Alczar Mayor fue ocupado por una guarnicin cristiana por lo que el Alczar Seguir pas de ser un palacio de recreo a residencia permanente de la familia real murciana, encabezada en aquel momento por Ibn Hud al-Dawla (to del anterior), que todava se intitulaba como "rey de Murcia".

Despus de que fuera sofocada la Revuelta mudjar de 1264-1266 por el rey Jaime I de Aragn y de que la ciudad pasara definitivamente a control cristiano, el Alczar Menor se convirti en Casa Real de la monarqua castellana. Personajes tan ilustres como Alfonso X el Sabio, Violante de Aragn y Jaime I de Aragn residieron largas temporadas en sus estancias con ocasin de sus visitas al reino de Murcia.

En esta poca, la finca palatina, que inclua no slo el palacio sino otras construcciones, baos, huertos y jardines, fue subdividida y entregada a diversos beneficiarios, entre ellos el propio rey de Castilla y su familia, surgiendo el Real de la Reina o la finca del infante Don Fernando entre otros. En ambos espacios residi el rey Jaime I durante su nueva estancia en la ciudad durante 1274.

Anteriormente, los monarcas cristianos ya haban cedido a los Franciscanos una parte de la finca palatina, pero fue en 1365 cuando Pedro I el Cruel don sus estancias palaciales a la abadesa Berenguela de Espn y a la Orden de Hermanas Pobres de Santa Clara, mantenindose en su propiedad hasta nuestros das.

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Additional Photos by Luis Garcia (adramad) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 7895 W: 5 N: 13918] (62016)
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