In the foothills of La Villuerca, between two valleys and surrounded by leafy chestnut woodland, stands the Granja de Mirabel, a palace chosen by the Catholic Monarchs in which to rest together with their children. Cervantes, Alfonso XII, and Miguel de Unamuno are some of the famous guests of this bucolic enclave, which was declared a Historical Artistic Monument in 1931. Currently it is only possible to visit its chapel on 3rd May on the occasion of the fair of El Cristo de Mirabel, which is when the treasures hidden within its walls can be enjoyed by visitors.
The Valle del Infierno (Hell’s Valley) and the Valley of Valdegracia surround on two sides this palace in the vicinity of Guadalupe; it is scarcely 10 km away by car or 5.5 km on foot on a leafy route bursting with vegetation.
Its origins must be sought in a small and ancient monastery where the Catholic Monarchs spent the night on one of the queen’s pilgrimages to the sanctuary of Guadalupe. From then on the monastery cum farm was subjected to a series of successive remodelling and extensions to make it into a palace. In the hands of the Hieronymites of the Real Monasterio it became a place of rest for the noblemen who visited the area. In 1504 Juan de Zúñiga, the last Grand Master of the Order of Alcántara, died there. With the sale of Church lands of Mendizábal (1836) it passed into private hands.
The main enclosure of the palace is walled and in the interior of the fortification there are Moorish gardens with the constant presence of water in several fountains. Among these stands out the so-called ‘Fuente del Frío’, a spring which flows into a pool alongside a Vetton verraco (stone animal). Its Mudejar façade and cloister are particularly striking.