Monastery of Sant Jeroni de Cotalba

Monastery of Sant Jeroni de Cotalba

General view from Ròtova.

Location within Spain
Monastery information
Full name Saint Jerome of Cotalba Royal Monastery
Other names San Jerónimo de Cotalba
Order Hieronymites
Established 1388
Disestablished 1835
Diocese Valencia
Founder(s) Royal Duke of Gandia
Important associated figures Ausiàs March, House of Borgia, Duke of Gandia
Location Alfauir, (Valencian Community), Spain
Coordinates 38°56′26.71″N 0°14′46.34″W / 38.9407528°N 0.2462056°W / 38.9407528; -0.2462056
Visible remains All. Fully preserved.
Public access Yes
Other information
Wings of the Gothic-Mudéjar cloister of the monastery.
Main or Bell tower, of Gothic style.
Detail of the Main or Bell tower, Gothic style.
Main gateway of the Monastery.
Romantic gardens of the monastery.
Agricultural raft next to the romantic gardens of the monastery.
Medieval sarcophagus of the Duke's children Alfonso of Aragón and Foix.
The Last Supper painted in fresco by Nicolás Borrás at the Monastery's refectory, XVI.
Windows of the upper cloister.

The Monastery of Sant Jeroni de Cotalba (Valencian pronunciation: [ˈsaɲ ʒeˈɾɔni ðe koˈtaɫβa], Spanish: San Jerónimo de Cotalba, "Saint Jerome of Cotalba") is a monastic building of Valencian Gothic, Mudéjar, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical styles constructed between the 14th and 18th centuries, located in the municipal area of Alfauir, (Valencia), Spain, about 8 km. from the well-known city of Gandia.


The monastery of Sant Jeroni de Cotalba is one of the most historic monastic constructions in Valencia and located near Alfauir, a village about eight kilometres outside Gandia.

It has its origin in Xàbia. In 1374 Pope Gregory XI authorized the foundation of a monastery to the hermit of Xàbia, who belonged to the Hiernymite order. The duke Alfonso of Aragon granted the grounds to the building. The monastery was attacked by pirates in 1387. Therefore, the monks feared to return there. For that reason in 1388 Alfonso of Aragon bought the territories of Cotalba from the Muslims, which were more protected and he donated them to the Hieronmyte monks of Xàbia. They moved to Cotalba and Alfonso of Aragon founded the monastery in 1388. In 1388 Alfonso of Aragon and Foix, Royal Duke of Gandia, constructed a fortress to protect the monastics from attacks by Berber pirates. Tradition claims Saint Vincent Ferrer preached publicly from the monastery. The father, Pere March, and the two wives of the well-known Valencian medieval poet Ausiàs March are buried in this monastery.

In the 16th century the monastery came under the protection of the House of Borgia. The Duchess of Gandia, Maria Enriquez de Luna, widow of the duke Giovanni Borgia and daughter-in-law of the Pope Alexander VI, financed the monastery's enlargement such as the upper cloister of late Gothic style or the medieval cistern of the Orange Tree Patio. Later, also Saint Francis Borgia frequented the monastery and his wife, Leonor de Castro, lady and intimate friend of the Empress Isabella of Portugal, spent her last days in it recovering from her ailments, where she died on March 27 of 1546.

Spanish Renaissance painter Nicolás Borrás was so impressed by his stay at the monastery, he asked for membership in the order has his only payment. He was born in Cocentaina (Alicante). He was a pupil of Juan de Juanes. He is one of the best artists of Valencian monastic painting. The Hieronymite monks of Cotalba called him to paint the greater altarpiece of the church. In this way, he entered in the order. The altarpiece consisted in fourteen tables. There was a sculpture of Saint Jerome in the middle. In addition, he made other altarpieces for the chapels of the church and the chapterhouse. Also he produced paintings for different parts of the monastery. He painted four great linens for the stations of the low cloister. However, the only work conserved in its original place was The Saint Supper painted in fresco. It is placed in what nowadays is known as the oil mill, that originally was the dining hall (refectory). He took the habit in 1575, and professed final vows the following year. He passed the rest of his life painting, leaving twelve altarpieces in the church alone, and spent his own money to hire sculptors and builders for the monastery's embellishment.

The Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal sold off the religious buildings to pay state debts. The monks left the monastery August 6, 1835. ln 1843, it was acquired by the Trénor family and remains in their bands until today. The Trénor family has owned it since 1843, although it became a military hospital temporarily during the Spanish Civil War.

In 1994, the monastery was declared as an item of cultural interest (BIC), and is now being restored. The doors were opened to the public in May 26, 2005. The restoration work has been carried out on the area behind the church’s retable and Nicolas Borrás painting gallery. Nowadays, most of the monastery is open to visitors.


The construction of the monastery began in the 14th century and continued though the 16th century, though its current layout dates from reconstruction in the 17th and 18th centuries. The main facade is overlooked by the main and priory towers. The gothic church has a rectangular ground plan with one aisle and chapels between buttresses, as well as Baroque elements from the 18th-century renovation. The most significant areas on the upper floor are the presbytery and the choir.

The bell tower's facade features 17th-century blue and white carvings, and includes the founder's date and name in Valencian. The cloister is arranged in four galleries on two floors encircling a garden. The lower cloister includes arches and vaults in two-coloured Mudéjar style remniscent of the Córdoba mosque. The sala capitular houses the remains of Prince John and Princess Blanche of Aragon, children of the mediaeval Duke Alfonso the Old.

Sections of the monastery

Tour routes and visitor information

The monastery now stands at the start of the Route of the Monasteries of Valencia (GR-236), a religious, cultural and tourist route established in 2008 to connect five monasteries located in central region of the Province of Valencia, (Valencian Community).[1][2] It is also on the Route of the Borgias, a tourist route accessible by automobile.

Nowadays, it's possible to visit the majority of the building. The monastery's website includes scheduling information.schedule updated of visits.



See also

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