In the Cistercian female monastery of Las Huelgas (Burgos), the exceptionally well-preserved monastic complex is a fine example of the religious topography customary in the Cistercian Order, directly inherited from the Benedictines. In contrast to this, the legend of the Castilian monarchy's association with the monastery has produced studies which highlight the close relationship between architecture and royalty. Thus, traces have been sought of the palace upon which Alfonso VIII allegedly founded the monastery in the late twelfth century; the royal palace at the entrance, documented from the thirteenth century; and the chapels that may have been the scene of the king's investiture. This article reviews these oft-repeated theories, relating the topography of the entire site to the logical and habitual areas of a Cistercian monastery, such as the infirmary, the abbatial palace, a chapel in the cemetery, and the guests' chapel. © 2014 Taylor and Francis.
- Las Huelgas