The convent building of the later monastery is a noteworthy construction designed by Vicente Pascual, the modernist architect from Alcoy. Inside the enclosure is another construction of even greater value; an ancient subterranean convent that was excavated out of the rock and which only a few people had the opportunity to visit before it was closed in the 18th century.
Its history goes back to the year 1556, when mosén Melchor Ferre decided to found a monastery for nuns that consisted of a private secluded enclosure with a Cave Monastery excavated inside. On 10th March 1556 six nuns arrived in Bocairent from the Convent of Hope in Valencia, although it wasn’t until 10th October later that year that they actually occupied the convent. The convent-cum-monastery was put under the order of the “Sacred Lady of Sorrows and the Blessed Wise Men”. In 1700 the Cave Monastery was sealed off and a second convent built, which in turn was replaced by the current monastery in 1902.
The first impression you get when entering the chapel is one of surprise. The 48 square metre main room has been expertly carved from the rock and contains precisely chiselled roof mouldings. There are a variety of connecting chambers that lead off this room that give on to a large conical extractor chimney (rising 10 metres tall with an exterior opening at the top), and which have all been perfectly conserved.
Inside the convent you can visit the church, which was used by the nuns exactly as it still is until the year 1700, and from then onwards as a place of prayer until 1900. For the first twenty years after the founding of the convent, the nuns had to live in rooms where the conditions were of dampness and an absence of sunlight, mainly due to the extreme austerity of those early times.
After the first two decades, the nuns abandoned the cave cells and lived in the houses that once belonged to mosén Melchor Ferre, who on his death had left them to the nuns. These two houses are communicated to the primitive subterranean convent located directly below them.