Convent and Church of San José
On the outskirts of the town, until it expanded eastwards at the end of the 19th century with the arrival of the railroad, the monastery was made up of a number of buildings that were grouped together to create an architectural unit that has been conserved today next to a small church. The church has now disappeared and was replaced between 1608 and 1615 by another that was designed by the architect Francisco de Mora. He proposed the prototype of the Carmelite church with a longitudinal layout of one single nave facing north-south and three chapels on each side of the nave.
The only entrance opens up at midday and the front has been designed in Carmelite style and later reproduced in other churches. The structure is crowned by a triangular front with a large oculus in the centre. It stands above a niche containing the statue of the patron saint in white marble.
This convent was Teresa of Ávila’s first foundation. It corresponds to her monastic ideal and is characterised by its simplicity and austerity. The former convent premises have been conserved so that visitors can imagine what the first convent of the reform and the spirit of the person who was responsible were like: kitchens, refectory, St Teresa’s room, cloister, foundational bell and the so-called ‘devil’s staircase’ down which Teresa fell at Christmas time in the year 1577, breaking her left arm. Several of these elements can be seen in the convent museum.
It was designated a National Monument in 1968.