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Monastery of San José del Salvador

Saint John of the Cross arrives at Beas as Prior of the Calvary Convent because Mother Ana de Jesús (whom he held in great esteem, so much so that he directs h Spiritual Canticle) considers the need to have the spiritual assistance of the most Discalced close to their community, because, as they were based in La Peñuela (La Carolina), so far from Beas, they were very rare.

The Calvary Convent has been completely altered and converted into a large farmhouse, conserving only some parts of it and a spring of water, which may well be the one that inspired the Carmelite saint stanza 35 of the Spiritual Canticle, which is engraved on the statue of Saint John of the Cross that is in the entrance square to the Monastery of San José del Salvador:

“Let’s rejoice, Beloved,

and let me see your beauty

through the mountain and the hill,

where pure water flows; let’s dive deeper into the thicket. ” (…)

The visit to Calvary is not available, yet it is in the Monastery of San José del Salvador of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites where the mystical poet acted as confessor and spiritual director of the nuns, the main historical space where to follow in the footsteps of the Saint and where he felt so comforted throughout his stay that he continuously returned to Beas to spend even long periods of time, as shown in some of the letters he regularly sent to the Carmelites.

(…) Do you think that, even though you see me so silent, I lose sight of you and miss the vision of how easily you can be saints, and how, with much bliss and safe protection you can walk in the delight of the beloved Spouse? (…)

Letter from Fray Juan to the Carmelites of Beas who reproach him for his delay and forgetfulness in replying them. (The Hundred Notices of Beas).

On the other hand, the Monastery of San José del Salvador was the tenth foundation of Santa Teresa and the first in Andalusia and its convent complex, its church, built during the first half of the seventeenth century, of a beautiful classicist baroque, stands out.

At the entrance square to the Monastery you can see the statue of Saint John of the Cross (and another of Santa Teresa) and inside, you can visit the museum-reliquary of the Monastery, housing remarkable various liturgical ornaments and relics of Saint John of the Cross, a bust of the Saint, a copy of the original drawing of Mount Carmel made by himself for Mother Magdalena del Espíritu Santo, nun of Beas, or the Book of Professions with seven unpublished autographs of the mystic poet, among other elements of interest.

You can also visit the parlor where Saint John of the Cross confessed and spiritually attended to the nuns. In it, there is a painting by the famous painter Ricardo Sanjuán, which represents the arrival of the Saint to Beas and the first interview with his nuns.


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Interpretation Center of the Villa de Beas, the 16th…

It is located next to the Sanctuary of the patron saint of the town, the Virgen de la Paz, in an old convent-school of Madres Calasancias, built in the 19th century on the remains of the old Castle and Fortress of Villa Vieja.

The Interpretation Center is divided into two different spaces, the History area and the Mystic area.

In the thematic area of ​​History, the visitor can explore aspects related to Beas de Segura, such as its history, the different noble families, the castle-fortress, the Order of Santiago and the Encomienda, the symbolism of the bull or the folklore of the town .

In the Mystic area, the figures of Santa Teresa de Jesús and Saint John of the Cross are the basis of this thematic space and you can visit the room of the dwellings and that of the mystical scale, and enjoy an allegory of the mystical garden , among other elements of interest.

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Way of San Juan de la Cruz

The Way of Saint John of the Cross is a pilgrimage route that begins in Beas de Segura and concludes in Caravaca de la Cruz.

The Way originates from the beginning of 2016, at the initiative of the Discalced Carmelites of Caravaca, with the support of the Discalced Carmelites of Beas, to promulgate the heritage, landscape and ethnographic legacy of those villages it crosses and bring tourists or pilgrims closer to his message, his mystique and his poetry.

A pilgrimage route of 151 km, performed by the Saint as Vicar and confessor of the Carmelite convents.

The Way runs through the old communication routes from the 16th century and its purpose is to promote tourism and culture of the figure of Saint John of the Cross. The municipalities that belong to the Camino are Beas de Segura, Hornos de Segura, Santiago-Pontones, Nerpio, Moratalla and Caravaca de la Cruz.

The tourist and pilgrimage routes are configured with beginning and end in the municipalities of Beas de Segura and Caravaca de la Cruz, and vice versa, linking the religious, cultural, historical and literary heritage of each municipality around Saint John of the Cross, with the intention that the tourist or pilgrim travels all the localities on the route.

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Convent-College of Carmen-San Basilio

As you can see, the name of the Convent-College can be misleading: del Carmen or San Basilio? The reason is because, although the convent was called Nuestra Señora del Carmen, the popular name could be San Basilio because he is the patron of the College:

“Note that this school from the day it was founded was given as Patron Saint Basilio and has Nuestra Señora del Carmen as title, and yet many call it San Basilio for not distinguishing between Patron and Title”

“Estudios Joselinos” 46, 1992, pp. 15-25, taken from GABRIEL BELTRÁN O.C.D . Testament of Fray Gregorio de San Angelo, in “Saint John of the Cross” No. 12, 1993, pp. 279-291.

The convent of Nuestra Señora del Carmen in Baeza is where Saint John of the Cross founded the first Colegio Mayor of the Barefoot Order, which was intended to be established in localities with training centers (remember that Baeza was a university headquarters) so that better prepared vocations could emerge.

The mystical poet remained in this city of Jaén until 1582 as rector of the Colegio Mayor, a position that shows the public recognition of his high intellectual level, although he personally refused to teach at the university.

Unfortunately, the original building was torn down in years sixties of the twentieth century to build the new building that currently belongs to the School of Arts and Crafts of the city, with no vestige left of the place of such great importance. Except for a statue dedicated to the Saint in the entrance garden to the School of Arts and Crafts.

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Vicar’s House

Saint John of the Cross resided in the so-called house of the Vicar throughout his stay in Baeza, until 1582. This house, which is still preserved, was the first house in which the Carmelites lived when they arrived in the city, to immediately move to the houses of Juan de Escos, in La Calancha, and later in the new convent (Convento de Nuestra Señora del Carmen). It has a backyard closed by the city wall.

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Museum of San Juan de la Cruz

The Museum of Saint John of the Cross, is the only existing one in the world dedicated to his figure, it was inaugurated in 1978 in the premises of the convent of San Miguel de los Carmelitas Descalzos, where the mystical poet went to get cured of the “fever” :

(…) “I received here in La Peñuela the batch of letters that the servant brought me. I am very careful. Tomorrow I am going to Úbeda to heal from some fever, for which, (as there have been more than eight days that they give me every day and they do not cease) it seems that I will need medical help “(…).

This Carmelite convent was founded in 1587, under the invocation of San Miguel, patron of the city, as a result of the impulse that the Order of Carmel will receive from the hands of Saint Teresa of Jesus. Saint John of the Cross remains here from September 28 until his death in a poor cell at midnight between December 13 and 14, 1591.

In 1627, an Oratory was attached to the convent to house the tomb of Saint John of the Cross, being the first temple in the Catholic world built in his honor. It is thought that the Oratory is located in the same space as the cell where the Saint died, and there is an inscription on the façade that recalls this fact.

The Saint John of the Cross Museum is made up of various rooms, where the old Conventual Sacristy stands out, with various relics of the Saint, such as two fingers of his right hand and which are one of the main attractions of the Oratory. In other rooms, other spaces and objects that were related to the Saint are shown (iconography, the cell where he died, writings, etc.). The Museum has also been enriched with a notable library specialized in Saint John and spirituality issues.

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Monument to San Juan de la Cruz

The monument to Saint John of the Cross stands very close to the museum, in the Plaza Primero de Mayo (First of May Square).

A monument in the form of a sculpture, made of polished white marble and limestone, which is the work and donation of the Malaga native sculptor Francisco Palma Burgos.

It was inaugurated on November 24, 1959, and in that year various events were held in honor of the Saint.

The monument, in perfect harmony with the square and the Church of San Pablo, was not the original idea. There was another more ambitious project, whose model you will be able to contemplate. But that is something you have yet to discover.

Puente Ariza (Ariza Bridge)

The Ariza Bridge, projected by the illustrious architect Andrés de Vandelvira, under the direction of works by the stonemason Antón Sánchez, from Úbeda and financed by the Bishop of Jaén, Don Diego de los Cobos de Molina, was built on the Guadalimar river and has great importance important because it was the main communication route between Úbeda and La Peñuela (La Carolina), so it was an obligatory passage from Saint John of the Cross to access the city where he went to “get cured of fever.”

The bridge, remarkable in itself because it is a masterpiece of Vandelvira´s civil engineering, for the treatment of the ashlars, the size of the main arch and its fit in the landscape, has a length of 99.5 meters and has been declared Cultural Heritage, in the category of Monuments, on February 4, 1993.

Since 1998 it has not been passable, as a consequence of the Giribaile Swamp coming into operation, being partially submerged under the waters and emerging in periods of drought.

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Sacred Chapel of El Salvador

La Sacra Capilla de El Salvador del Mundo is an extraordinary funeral pantheon ordered to be built by one of the most important figures of the time, Francisco de los Cobos, personal secretary of Emperor Carlos V.

The pantheon has an important link with the Carmelite reformer because the last and solemn information leading to the beatification of Saint John of the Cross , the greatest and most enlightened of our mystics, was held here. The event occurred on September 6, 1674 by Pope Clement X, although the Decree was not issued until January 25, 1675.

The temple itself is one of the most successful examples of the Spanish Renaissance, where the most illustrious virtuosos of the time worked: Diego de Siloé as the author of the general designs of the temple; the incomparable Andrés de Vandelvira as master builder; Berruguete, author of the altarpiece of the main altar; Esteban Jamete, sculptor of the facade and the sacristy; or Francisco de Villalpando, author of the bars.

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Street San Juan de la Cruz

Úbeda pays homage to the Saint with a street named after him. This street, which was previously called Calle del Toril, is located at the confluence of Calle Carmen and right next to the Museo Oratorio de Saint John of the Cross, precisely where the mystical poet died, so the choice of the name of the street could not be more accurate.

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House of the Méndez

You can find it in the historic center of the city, in the Plaza de López Almagro. Casa de los Méndez takes on special importance for the literary route of Saint John of the Cross in Úbeda because this is where his relics were venerated before being taken to the Collegiate Church of Santa María de los Reales Alcázares.