Gaucin - Convento de los Carmelitas

Convento de los Carmelitas - Gaucin

Located in Calle Luis de Armiñan, the building stands on the site of a small ermita (Hermitage) called Vera Cruz. In 1700 Bartolome del Rio asked Don Juan Carlos Alonso Perez de Guzman el Bueno, 11th Duke of Medina Sidonia, for authorization to build a Carmelitas Descalzados convent. It was inaugurated on 15 August 1704.

Carmelite is a Roman Catholic religious order founded, probably in the 12th century, on Mount Carmel, hence its name. The Discalced (Barefoot) Carmelites is an offshoot with roots in the tradition of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, and was established in 1593 by two Spanish saints, Saint Teresa of Ávila and Saint John of the Cross (San Juan de la Cruz).

The brick building had a central stone door with pilasters which support the triangular pediment, whose niche contains the Carmelite crest.  In the right side there was a brick tower of two bodies with a bulrush with half-point arches.

The convent floor layout is rectangular with three naves separated by half-point arches, supported by rectangular columns.

The central and highest nave is covered by a ridgepole assembly. The side naves have a wooden roof with blind arches and pilasters enclosed in wood. In the head of the temple is an irregular polygon-shaped acute chapel or sacristy covered by an octagonal dome.

In 1835 a decree was passed that all convents of less than 12 persons should be abandoned. The convent ceased to be a religious building and was largely abandoned; it was sometimes used as a cinema or for theatrical productions. The interior used to have carved wooden images, but they were destroyed in a fire in 1936. On the 6 November 1982, the Bishop of Malaga ceded the convent to the town hall of Gaucin and it is now used as a civic building. There is a small library in an alcove and art exhibitions take place from time to time, as well as other cultural events.  

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