The Governing Council of the Community of Madrid has approved this week the declaration as an Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC), in the category of cultural landscape, of the Dehesa de Sotomayor and Casa de la Monta complex, in Aranjuez, for its historical value, environmental and architectural.
La Dehesa de Sotomayor is a natural space “with great environmental and botanical interest”. Likewise, he has defended that it is of “remarkable importance due to its historical evolution”, which dates back to the end of the 15th century.
Since then, it has maintained outstanding values such as farming and hunting, in addition to preserving architectural elements, which makes the site an example of a Cultural Landscape.
Interior of the Casa de la Monta Community of Madrid
The Dehesa de Sotomayor remained in the hands of the Crown, but in the time of Alfonso XII its main use became agricultural and the lands were leased, until the State assumed its exploitation in 1943. In 1993, the farm was ceded by National Heritage to the Community of Madrid.
In addition to the Casa de la Monta, other buildings are linked to the Dehesa de Sotomayor, such as the Embocador Dam, the Sotomayor or Aves Canal, the Aves street or the Sotomayor Houses.
During the reign of Carlos I, the Dehesa de Sotomayor became part of the Crown, forming part of the Heredamiento de Aranjuez first, and then the Royal Site of Aranjuez.
Already then these lands were considered rich in pastures and appropriate for the breeding of horse and mule cattle, which acquired a particular role in the area.
Felipe II gave the territory of Aranjuez its definitive shape with a new arrangement of the landscape that involved the construction of a new palace and tree-lined walkways, but also orchards and gardens and an important network of canals to irrigate these lands. Thus, horse breeding was promoted, when the royal stud was established, under the authority of the head stableman.
In 1746, Fernando VI ordered to prioritize the pastures and meadows of Aranjuez for the breeding of horses, reaching the royal stud to 600 copies.
During the reign of Carlos III, Aranjuez was configured as an ideal agricultural exploitation according to enlightened criteria, including, among other purposes, land dedicated to horse breeding that was located in the Dehesa de Sotomayor.
The Monta house
The increase in the number of copies made it necessary to expand the facilities for their care, and the Casa de la Monta was then built, the project of which was approved in 1761 and whose work is attributed to Jaime Marquet, a French architect, also author of the Royal Post Office, headquarters of the Presidency of the Community of Madrid.
The Casa de la Monta has a large quadrangular plan and is made up of four one-story bays, which make up a large space divided into two patios.
The complex housed stables with their different dependencies, but also the homes of the yegüeros, and even pavilions for the monarchs.