Plasencia to Losar de la Vera via Garganta la Olla, a Monastery and a Graveyard – Part 2

‘Placencia to Losar de la Vera via Garganta la Olla, a Monastery and a Graveyard – Part 1’ can be seen here.

Not far from Garganta is the Monasterio de Yuste (Monastery of St. Just) established by the Heironymite order of monks in 1402. It was burnt to the ground during the Peninsular War in the early C19th and remained a ruin until it was restored in 1949 at Franco’s behest.

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Perhaps the monastery’s greatest claim to fame is that the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, retired here in 1556 – with a retinue of 50-60 staff! Charles was an interesting character in a number of respects and his empire was the first, of which it was said that, ‘the sun never sets’. It extended over some 4 million square kilometres of the old and new worlds.

He inherited the ‘Habsburg Jaw’ (Mandibular prognathism) through his Habsburg lineage which was unequalled amongst the ruling dynastic houses of medieaval Europe in its degree of inbreeding – he kept to family tradition and married his first cousin, Isabella of Portugal. Vlad Dracula (‘The Impaler’) 1431-1476/7, was one of the early sufferers.

His son, Philip II of Spain married ‘Bloody Mary’, Queen Mary I of England and ruled jure uxoris as King of England from 1554 until Mary’s death in 1558. He was in Brussels at the time of his wife’s death and is reported to have said, ‘I felt a reasonable regret for her death’!

 

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Suffering from acute gout and epilepsy Charles died from malaria at this obscure monastery in September, 1558; his remains being disinterred some 20 years later and moved to the Royal Pantheon at the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

Not far down the road from the monastery is a German War Graves cemetery which sits innocuously beside the road and easily missed.

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The cemetery was created in 1983 as the final resting place for the remains of 26 German servicemen from World War I and 154 servicemen from World War II, gathered from around Spain.

While a delightful and peaceful spot, it seems a rather obscure location to choose.

 

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Placencia to Losar de la Vera, Caceres, Extramadura

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