Declared of Cultural Interest (BIC)
The Convent of Santa Clara was built in the sixteenth century next to the Hermitage of the Immaculate Conception, now disappeared, and housed the Poor Clare nuns until 1868.
In this hermitage, outside the walls of the town, was preserved the vow of the people of Alcazar de San Juan to the Virgin Mary for her deliverance from two plagues of locusts, the first in August 1470 and, years later, a second in 1546. Taking advantage of the existence of the Hermitage of the Immaculate Conception and with the purpose of preserving this vow, Sister Francisca de la Cruz, from Alcazar, requested permission to found a monastery under the protection of the Franciscan Third Order. In June 1557 he made the request to the Council of Alcázar, who granted him the Hermitage and other property attached to it. On May 20, 1564, the license to found the monastery was granted in Madrid. On May 23rd, Sister Francisca de la Cruz took possession of the Hermitage, and in 1565 the Provincial of the Franciscans took possession of the Convent, granting the nuns, in 1590, the Chapter of Belmonte by which they assumed the Rule of Saint Clare. Hence the name of the Convent, although it was better known as “La Concepción”, due to the previous existence of the Hermitage.Show more content
The new monastery quickly became very popular, in a few years it had more than eighty nuns and women from the most important families of Alcazar and other towns and villages of the Priory professed there. There were constant requests for new nuns, which led, at first, to the need to expand the existing facilities and, later, to the foundation of new beateries to accommodate the new incorporations. On this occasion, also in Alcazar de San Juan, the monastery of San Jose (XVI century) and another in the town of Villarrubia de los Ojos were founded.
The Monastery was respected by the disentailment of Mendizábal and by the exclaustration of 1835. During the second half of the 19th century, with the liberal impulse, on November 29, 1868, the Convent was ceded to the Ministry of War for the installation of a barracks. In 1980 it ceased to be a municipal property.
It is a 16th century building, but it has been completely rebuilt, of which only the exterior façade and the structure of the interior courtyard are preserved. The doorway, which is accessed by six steps made of red sandstone ashlars, was built during the extension of the building in the 19th century. XVII and it is a semicircular arch topped by a triangular pediment in the central part of which opens a niche. It is of great sobriety, without any decorative profusion. The most outstanding feature is the geometric play of the spheres of Escorial influence. Also of special interest are its coffered ceilings in pine wood and the cloister which, with elements added later, preserves its semicircular arches in ashlar.
Alcazar’s tradition places within its walls the origin of the Tortas de Alcázar, a well-known typical sweet made of sponge cake that is the emblem of local gastronomy.
It is currently closed, in the process of restoration.