Servite Monks Convent

Its history began in 1497, when the Servite convent was founded when monks of this order moved to a cave hermitage dedicated to San Miguel in Ladruñan, in a place near Las Cuevas de Cañart. This first convent had to be abandoned because of the plague. But soon after, in 1617, a new convent was founded in the same cave. At the beginning of the 18th century, the rains caused several landslides that damaged the cloister and some of the convent’s rooms, which led the monks to request their transfer to Las Cuevas de Cañart. Father Faci explains that the Fathers moved to their new convent, founded near the Villa, on May 10, 1727.

This convent, like so many others, was affected by the disentailment of Mendizábal in 1836 and the Carlist Wars, causing the ruin of the building and the dispersion of its movable property.

Pascual Madoz, in his Dictionary (1845-1850), indicates that several of the works contained in its temple were moved to Montalbán, Castellote and Calanda. (although there is some furniture in the sacristy of the church of San Pedro in Cuevas that seems to come from the convent). After the exclaustration, the Carlists fortified the convent and converted it into a hospital for their troops. In 1840, when Espartero took the castle of Castellote, the liberal troops destroyed the convent to prevent it from serving as a refuge for the Carlists.

The preserved ruins belong to the church dedicated to San Miguel, built in rococo style, with a hall plan that only maintains some of its slender pillars decorated with stucco. The cover is topped with a relief of the Pietà and is dated 1750. Other reliefs decorate a chapel or sacristy next to the main altar.
A few years ago another relief was discovered half-buried not far from the convent church. The relief represents a Pietà and is not in a good state of preservation. It probably belonged to an exterior access to other rooms of the convent.

Of the monastic complex, which must have occupied a large area of land, only the ruins of the church are preserved, representing approximately 10% of the total area. Next to the church there was a huge cloister that gave access to the most important rooms of the convent: school, pharmacy, porter’s lodge, carpentry, refectory and wine cellar. Other outbuildings were added to the complex, such as kitchens, barns, stables and the orchard with several chicken coops. It also had an inn next to a door that gave access to the porch, a covered space on four columns that allowed care to be given to the poor.

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