Monsalud Monastery

One of the clearest and most beautiful examples of the presence of the Cistercian order in the Iberian Peninsula.


This is one of the clearest and most beautiful examples of the presence of the Cistercian order in the Iberian Peninsula. The buildings’ historic walls are located in a privileged enclave, where they watch over the municipality of Córcoles from on high, and are just five minutes from the town of Sacedón (Guadalajara). It was the first and the oldest cenobium in the province, along with those of Bonaval, Buenafuente del Sistal and Avila, and is the best preserved of them all. It was declared a Cultural Heritage Site in 1931, and in recent decades the Castilla la Mancha regional government has done restoration work on several occasions. When this site was founded is shrouded in mystery and its origin lies in the times of the Visigoth kings Amalarico and Clotilde, who built the first shrine dedicated to the Our Lady of Monsalud.


Some authors maintain that the monastery was built between 1140-1141, which would make it the first of its Order in Spain. Despite this, the first reliable document dates from 1167, in which Juan de Treyes, the Archdeacon of Huete, granted the village of Córcoles along with all its land to the Monastery. This donation was ratified by King Alfonso VIII two years later, when more information was given on the rights and the lands of the Monastery.

This cenobitic community was established for a number of reasons. To begin with, to create an economic hub from which to manage resettlement of these lands by Castillians, because of the management skills of the “white monks” in agricultural tasks and setting up stable communities around the Monastery. This role in resettling the land at the height of the Reconquest led to close ties with the Order of Calatrava, to the point that the remains of two of the Order’s knights are interred in the cloister of the monastery (Nuño de Quiñones, grand master and Don Sancho, commander of the Order). The distinguished presence of these Crusaders from the peninsula is commemorated by their tombstones at the entrance to the imposing chapter house. Other examples of these ties are the numerous Calatrava crosses painted on the walls of the Cenobium.

The abbots

The first abbot of the monastery was Fortún Donato, a disciple of St. Bernard of Claraval, an ideologue of the Cistercian order, who arrived in Monsalud together with another group of monks from the Monastery of Scala Dei in the French Pyrenees. Most of the first abbots of the Monastery came from this area. Due to the passage of time and the poor management of several abbots over the years, certain economic problems arose between the XIII and XV centuries, until in 1538 the monastery was placed under the authority of the Castile Observance which led to profound changes in its organisation. The inevitable consequence of this was a new economic boom, which together with its renown as both a holy place and a centre for numerous pilgrimages in honour of the Our Lady of Monsalud, took it into a new golden age. In 1835, when Mendizábal carried out his Ecclesiastical Confiscation, the Order was abolished and expelled from the monastery, which brought its activities to an end.

Architectural style

Monsalud Monastery is one of the most remarkable medieval buildings in our country, and its influence can be seen in the Romanesque style throughout southern Guadalajara and the province of Cuenca. The Romanesque sobriety of its church, as well as the transitional Gothic style of its chapter house and cloister, are particularly worthy of note. This jewel of Castile, which is waiting to be discovered, has now been recovered for public use and enjoyment.

Buy your tickets before you go

To visit the Monastery, you will need to get one ticket per person, which is free of charge.


5 minutes from Sacedón.

Address: 19127 Córcoles, Guadalajara.

Links of interest

Other places in the area

¡Make the best use of your visit!

Monsalud Monastery

One of the clearest and most beautiful examples of the presence of the Cistercian order in the Iberian Peninsula.

Roman Bridge

Built in 1461, it crosses the Tagus River and connects the municipal districts of Auñón and Sacedón.

La Isabela Settlement

Ruins of an old spa, which then became a psychiatric hospital. These ruins were submerged, but are now above water again.

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