La Puebla de Montalban

Museum of La Celestina

Plaza Mayor

Information about La Puebla de Montalbán:

Telephone: 925 745 858

La Puebla de Montalbán defines its territory in the land of Torrijos and displays contrasts of vegetation and nuances in its landscape. On one side, the fertile lowlands of the Tagus with the lush vegetation that feeds the river, orchards and irrigated crops fill the riverbank with colour and intensity. On the other side, the plateau opens its cereal mantle and its crystalline plateau footwear, where limestone and sandy aspect emerge. Hiking trails run through the area, delighting hikers and cyclists alike.

A municipality that exhibits its heritage from its nerve centre, the Plaza Mayor, in its interior and surroundings the rest of the legacy of its cultural heritage is concentrated nearby, taking the visitor back to an era of splendour of this town. Entering through the arch of La Manzanilla we arrive at the complex where the Palace of the Dukes of Osuna exhibits its Plateresque façade on the outside and the interior is sheltered under beautiful Mudejar coffered ceilings. Granite colonnaded colonnades support the square on the other side and give it a typically Castilian appearance.

The religious legacy of this town stands out, also starting from the square, where Our Lady of Peace stands in Gothic style from the transition to the Renaissance. It is followed by the monastery of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción or the convent of the Franciscan Fathers. The tower of San Miguel, which used to belong to a temple that no longer exists, is emblematic and stands tall.

If there is one thing the visitor cannot miss, it is the well-known museum of La Celestina, which tells us about Fernando de Rojas, an illustrious native of the town, about his work and also about the municipality, its singularities and traditions.

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What to see?

Plaza Mayor

With an irregular trapezoidal outline, and an approximate surface area of 2,260 square metres, it was not built as such, but was reached through a construction process that shaped it as it is today. The different styles that have been imprinted on its façades and balconies bear witness to this. On the north façade there are arcades with uneven granite columns, continuous balconies and a large doorway leading to what was once a large inn in the square, the same inn that Fernando de Rojas knew and which he perpetuated in "La Celestina". On the west façade is the town hall building, forming an angle with the old inn building. At the entrance to the town hall, on either side, there are two tombstones dedicated, one to Fernando de Rojas, and the other to Felipe II's protomedic, Francisco Hernández.

The southern façade is occupied in its entirety by the palace of the Dukes of Osuna and Counts of La Puebla de Montalbán. The parish church of Nuestra Señora de la Paz occupies the west façade and is connected to the palace by a corridor, supported by two beautiful arches. Paved with Castilian typology of boulders and granite slabs in 1982, it is one of the best squares in the province, where typical buildings from the 15th and 16th centuries have been preserved. It is accessed via two streets, a tunnel and two beautifully crafted arches belonging to the palace.

Palace of the Counts of Montalbán

Three-storey building with a square floor plan. The main façade is located in the Plaza Mayor with a Plateresque façade with a lintelled doorway, with stone jambs topped with corbels supporting a wide lintel. It is topped with the coat of arms of the Lords of Montalbán. The balconies that adorn it are rectangular, wrought iron, and typical of Castilian manor houses. Inside there are three magnificent pine coffered ceilings: one Mudejar, another Gothic and a third Plateresque. The palace was built in the 15th century by the master of Santiago D. Juan Pacheco. It was beautified by his descendant D. Alonso Téllez Girón at the beginning of the 16th century.

Parish Church of Ntra. Sra. De la Paz

It was completely rebuilt in the second half of the 16th century, in two phases, with two very different architects taking part in the work: Hernán González de Lara and Nicolás de Vergara. A Gothic church must have existed until the middle of the 16th century, the most recent part of which was the chancel built at the end of the 15th century. It is the largest temple in the town, arranged in the shape of a Latin cross with a central nave and two side naves. The central nave is notable for its rich Mudejar coffered ceiling and five stone arches on each side supported by stone columns. On the main altar is the image of Our Lady of Peace, a carved effigy, painted and engraved, 90 cm. high and of German-Dutch origin, from the 15th century. The façade of the church is made of stone, with semicircular arches and archivolts, framed between two columns topped by pinnacles and a cross in the centre. The façade also has a niche with the image of the Virgin of Peace, two coats of arms on the sides, possibly carved, an oculus in the central part, a clock in the upper part, and a beautiful belfry with two bells.

Tower of San Miguel

It is the most representative monument of La Puebla, a symbol of the town of enormous slenderness and monumentality. It was built on the highest point of the town centre by the master builder Cristóbal Ortiz, who began his work in ashlar and brick around 1575. It has a square floor plan with four superimposed bodies and a hipped roof. The first body is built on a base of ashlar stone, which is made of masonry, brick and ashlar masonry, with cushioned corner ashlars. On the west façade there is a slender semicircular arch, now blind, also of cushioned ashlar masonry, under which there is a mean entrance door with no character whatsoever. The next three bodies are made of brick. The façades of the second and third façades have small architectural bodies composed of pilasters and pediments, and those of the fourth façade have semicircular arches. The first façade is made of masonry and brick with cushioned ashlars in the corner. The height of the tower, from the base to the apex of the roof, is 32 metres. In Renaissance Mudejar style, it is the tower that once stood on the church of San Miguel, which collapsed in the 18th century.

Convent of the Conceptionist Mothers

The convent of Franciscan Conceptionists in La Puebla de Montalbán was founded by Cardinal Don Pedro Pacheco Ladrón de Guevara, in the mid-16th century, and possibly built by Laurencio de Ilachoa. It is made up of a church, cloister, with its monastic rooms, and an orchard area. The church is the most emblematic building of the monastic complex. It has a Latin cross floor plan, with a semicircular apse at the interior and a flat apse at the exterior. The nave is covered with a barrel vault in its first and last section with coffered ceiling decoration, as in the transept; the rest of the nave is covered with a groin vault over lunettes, with semicircular windows and oculus.

On each side of the nave there is a large round arch, forming small, shallow chapels between the buttresses; one of them, the north one, serves as access to the church. Under the church is the crypt, divided by thick pillars and covered by groin vaults. The remains of the founder are preserved inside. The cloister, the distribution element of the monastery, is quadrangular in shape and consists of two levels with arches. In the spandrels of the bell-shaped arches, the coats of arms of Cardinal Pacheco are placed as decoration. The rest of the rooms that are articulated around the cloister are the refectory, the cells and the chapel, the wooden ceilings and the friezes that border some of the rooms, with epigraphic and vegetal decoration, are particularly noteworthy.

Franciscan Fathers Convent

Its founders were Dª. Catalina Pacheco, sister of Cardinal Pacheco, and his nephew Alonso Téllez Girón. The work began in 1570 in some houses owned by Dª Catalina Pacheco. Since its foundation, the convent was inhabited by observant friars from Castile until their expulsion in 1835. After having been confiscated due to the confiscation of Mendizábal, the friars returned to the convent on 20th July 1878, installing a college of Franciscan missionaries of the province of San Gregorio Magno in the Philippines. In 1879 a royal order gave academic validity to the studies taken at this school. It has accentuated Renaissance and Baroque characteristics. It is built of brick, forming two bodies: one higher and topped by a beautiful dome, used as a church, and the other as a convent proper. The latter consists of three floors, built around a square courtyard, which illuminates the cloister, and has segmental arches that, together with the semicircular arches, support groin vaults.

Hospital y Cristo de la Caridad

Founded in 1532 by D. Juan Pacheco, it is located in the centre of the town. It is accessed through a central lintelled doorway, over which a belfry stands, to a cobbled courtyard with an irregular floor plan. At the end of this courtyard is the hermitage of the Christ. This hospital was in operation until 1884. The Confraternity of Charity, which existed as early as 1563, was responsible for the care and administration of the hospital, which at that time had six beds and was staffed by a doctor and a nurse. As a hermitage it houses the Cristo de la Caridad, patron saint of the town since 1598. The chapel where the Cristo de la Caridad is venerated is made up of two naves at right angles. The altarpiece of the high altar is a remarkable baroque monument. Smaller but in the same style are two other side altars. The building is made entirely of brick and is topped by a beautiful dome at the corner where the two naves meet.

Hermitage of the Virgen de la Soledad

At the end of the leafy Paseo de la Soledad, we find this hermitage, which shelters the Virgen de la Soledad (patron saint of La Puebla), and houses the exquisite altarpiece where the image is located, made by José Minguet in 1799. It is a brick building with some ashlar masonry, topped by a beautiful spire with an impressive spire. The frescoes on the altarpiece of the high altar, depicting marble and jasper, are remarkable. These paintings were made by the brothers Luis and Alejandro Velázquez in 1741. The image of the Virgen de la Soledad is venerated in the niche of the main altarpiece. Two paintings by José de Ribera (one of them is "The Tears of St. Peter"), and a collection of copper paintings are kept in this chapel. Also of note is the recumbent Christ, known as the Holy Sepulchre, a 17th century painted carving, and two other carvings representing Christ tied to the column, and the Virgin of the Pietà.

Hermitage of San José

This hermitage was built at the beginning of the 18th century next to the entrance to the Alcubillete road, at the southeast end of the town. The well-proportioned brick building has a west-facing entrance door and occupies an area of 189 square metres. An 18th century Gothic carving from the hermitage of Santa María de Melque was venerated in this hermitage.

Montalbán Bridge

It is located at the junction of the CM-4009 road with the Tagus River, about 3 kilometres from La Puebla de Montalbán, in the direction of San Martín de Montalbán. The first historical record of the existence of the bridge dates from 1423, when Queen Dª. Leonor signs before the council of La Mesta a deed of transaction by which she undertakes to build a stone, lime and brick bridge in this area to replace the existing one, which was entirely made of wood. It is a passage over the Tagus River formed by 11 arches made of granite ashlars. During the 15th century, this bridge became one of the six ports or royal counters of Castile. On several occasions it has suffered the collapse of some of its arches, being on 28 March 1877 when one of the most important damages was registered, when the last two arches collapsed at the exit of it.

Gramosilla undergrowth and Presa bridge.

Gramosilla was a former site of flour mills on the Tagus River. In the first third of the 20th century it was chosen to build a dam for industrial purposes. Sadly, it was a failed project, as it never came into operation. Nowadays, it is a privileged place in this municipality to enjoy the environmental surroundings of the Tagus (undergrowth of Gramosilla, escarpments and gullies of Cerrecín...) as well as to savour suggestive elements of industrial archaeology (water mine, nearby medieval pool, dam, brick oven...)