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A Hidden Garden in Madrid

Strolling through Madrid (Spain), cutting through the “Plaza de la Villa” and the “Cisneros” house, we arrive at Sacramento Street to find a very unique garden.

Among modern buildings and down some stairs, we find a hidden garden, it is the “Orchard of the Nuns.” This space was later known as the Lezcano Palace garden and then as the O’Reilly Palace garden, when in 1939, Aurora Lezcano becomes related to the Count of O’Reilly, this garden continues to be part of the Palace.

To understand why it was known as the “orchard of the nuns”, we must travel back to the seventeenth century, when the Convent of the Sacrament was built on the palace grounds. The Convent was occupied by the “Barefoot Cistercian Nuns of San Bernardo”, known as the “Bernardas”. In the cloister of the convent, the “Bernardas” planted, cultivated and harvested root vegetables and tubers for food. Hence becoming the Orchard of the Nuns.

Although the Convent of the Sacrament was greatly damaged during the Spanish Civil War, it was rebuilt in the 1940’s. Later, in 1972, the convent was finally demolished, with the palace and garden prevailing. The Fountain of the Prioress also survived. It is a work that includes cherub sculptures and was imported from Paris in the 18th century.

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