Monasteries in Spain

Monastery of San Vicente de Oviedo

San Vicente de Oviedo is a church and monastery in Oviedo. Its foundation, in 761, is recorded in a charter known as the Pacto monástico de Oviedo ('Monastic Pact of Oviedo') a copy made in the 12th-century of the original that is dated 25 November 781 and is considered the earliest document on the monarchy of the Kingdom of Asturias. Although doubts exist as to the veracity of this document since the monastery ...
Founded: 761 AD | Location: Oviedo, Spain

Monastery of Saint Pelagius

The Monasterio de San Pelayo is a convent for women of the Benedictine order, located in the city of Oviedo. It was founded by King Alfonso II of Asturias (the chaste), and first dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, but later to Saint Pelayo martyr, whose relics were supposedly acquired in 994 by the monastery. The monastery stands near the Cathedral of Oviedo. Mostly remodeled after the 16th century, losing most o ...
Founded: 1590 | Location: Oviedo, Spain

Monastery of San Martiño Pinario

The monastery of San Martiño Pinario is the second largest monastery in Spain after San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Little remains of the original medieval buildings (founded around 899 AD), as the monastery has been largely rebuilt since the sixteenth century. Throughout the Middle Ages the monastery grew so that by the end of the fifteenth century the monastery became the richest and most powerful of Galicia. This brought ...
Founded: 1587 | Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Monastery of San Paio de Antealtares

King Alfonso II founded the Monastery of San Paio de Antealtares in the year 830. It fell into decay at the end of the 13th century, and in ruins, the Catholic Monarchs eliminated it and included it into S. Martín Pinario. In 1495, Gómez de Marzoa´s efforts to set up a college for poor students led to the monastery becoming Compostela´s first school and the origin of Galicia´s Renaissance University. The Order of ben ...
Founded: 1599 | Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Convent of Las Descalzas Reales

The Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales, literally the 'Monastery of the Royal Barefooted', resides in the former palace of Emperor Charles V and Empress Isabel of Portugal. Their daughter, Joanna of Austria, founded this convent of nuns of the Poor Clare order in 1559. Throughout the remainder of the 16th century and into the 17th century, the convent attracted young widowed or spinster noblewomen. Each w ...
Founded: 1559 | Location: Madrid, Spain

Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes

The Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes was founded by King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile to commemorate both the birth of their son, Prince John, and their victory at the Battle of Toro (1476) over the army of Afonso V of Portugal. Toledo was chosen as the site for building the monastery due to its central geographic location and because it had been the capital of the ancient Visigoth kin ...
Founded: 1477 | Location: Toledo, Spain

El Escorial

The Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, commonly known as El Escorial, is a historical residence of the King of Spain about 45 kilometres northwest of Madrid. It is one of the Spanish royal sites and has functioned as a monastery, basilica, royal palace, pantheon, library, museum, university and hospital. El Escorial comprises two architectural complexes of great historical and cultural significance: the royal ...
Founded: 1563 | Location: San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain

Convento de las Dueñas

The Convento de las Dueñas is a Dominican convent located in the city of Salamanca. The convent was founded in 1419 by Juana Rodriguez Maldonado in her own palace. The church and the cloister were built around 1533. The convent preserve same of the original mudejar gates of the palace. One of them leads to the cloister. The capitals of the uppeer story are among the more prominent examples of the Plateresque.
Founded: 1419 | Location: Salamanca, Spain

Convento de San Marcos

The Convento de San Marcos is today an operating luxury parador hotel. It also contains a consecrated church and museum, and is one of the most important monuments of the Renaissance in Spain. It is one of the greatest architectural jewels of León. It has a highly ornamental plateresque facade. The origins of this building lie in the twelfth century, in the days of Alfonso VII of León. His sister, the Infanta Sa ...
Founded: 1514 | Location: León, Spain

Convento de San Esteban

Convento de San Esteban is a Dominican monastery situated in the Plaza del Concilio de Trento. The Dominicans settled in Salamanca in about 1255, but their original monastery was demolished to construct the parish church of St. Stephen in 1524, at the initiative of Cardinal Juan Álvarez de Toledo. Construction took until 1610. Although the church is considered to be an excellent example of the Plateresque style, ...
Founded: 1524-1610 | Location: Salamanca, Spain

San Domingos Convent Ruins

San Domingos Convent was founded around 1282, although the work on the conserved temple did not begin until 1383, continuing through the 15th century. Following the introduction of the exclaustration law, the convent was closed in 1836. The building gradually deteriorated until it fell into ruin and by 1846 some of its materials were being used to pave streets. In 1864 a chapel was demolished and between 1869 and 1870 th ...
Founded: 1282 | Location: Pontevedra, Spain

Monasterio de San Jerónimo

The Royal Monastery of St. Jerome is a Hieronymite monastery in Granada. Architecturally, it is in the Renaissance style. The church, famous for its architecture, was the first in the world consecrated to the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The monastery was founded by the Catholic Monarchs Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon in Santa Fe outside the city of Granada, during the siege of the latter city, ...
Founded: 1504 | Location: Granada, Spain

Convent of San Domingos de Bonaval

Convent of San Domingos de Bonaval is located in Santiago de Compostela, but outside the old walled city on the slopes of Mount Almáciga, near the place known as Porta do Camiño, which was one of the gates by which pilgrims entered the city. The convent was founded by St. Dominic de Guzman (who went on pilgrimage to Santiago in 1219) in the early thirteenth century. The oldest document which cites the convent, with ...
Founded: c. 1228 | Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas

The Monastery of Santa María de las Cuevas, also known as the Monastery of the Cartuja hosts today The Andalusian Contemporary Art Center (The Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo). Legend holds that the area, in Moorish times, was honeycombed with caves made by potters for ovens and to obtain clay, and that after the capture of the city by Christians in the thirteenth century, an image of the virgin was revealed ins ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Seville, Spain

Santo Domingo de Silos

The monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos dates back to the Visigothic period of the 7th century. In the 10th century, the abbey was called San Sebastián de Silos, but acquired its current name when Santo Domingo was entrusted to renovate the abbey by Fernando the Great, King of Castile and León. The abbot designed the church to have a central nave with two side aisles and five chapels attached to its apse and ...
Founded: 7th century AD | Location: Santo Domingo de Silos, Spain

Monastery of San Xulián de Samos

The Monastery of San Xulián de Samos  is an active Benedictine monastery founded in the sixth century. The monastery was the School of Theology and Philosophy. It is also an important stop on the Way of Saint James, a pilgrimage leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great. The foundation is attributed to Martin of Braga. It is known to have been renovated by Saint Fructuoso in the seventh century, al ...
Founded: 7th century AD | Location: Samos, Spain

Monastery of Saint Dominic of Silos

The Monastery of Saint Dominic of Silos (the Old) (Monasterio de Santo Domingo de Silos el Antiguo) is a Cistercian monastery in Toledo. It was first founded in the 6th century and rebuilt in 1085 by Pedro Alcocer during the reign of Alfonso VI of Leon and Castille. It underwent major rebuilding work in the second half of the 16th century, in which the mudéjar church was demolished. The new building was begun by Ni ...
Founded: 1085 | Location: Toledo, Spain

San Juan Monastery

Monasterio de San Juan was founded in 1091, when the kings Alfonso VI and Constance of Burgundy donated a small land to monk Lesmes, who came from the Chaise-Dieu abbey. In 1537 a fire destroyed practically the whole monastery. The reconstruction lasted until the confiscation. During the first half of the 19th century, several confiscations destroyed the heritage of the monastery and the hospital of San Juan. The monks ...
Founded: 1091 | Location: Burgos, Spain

Santuari de Lluc

The Santuari de Lluc is a monastery and pilgrimage site located in a basin on a height of 525 metres and is surrounded by a number of high mountains. The sanctuary was founded in the 13th century after a Moorish shepherd found a statue of the Virgin Mary on the site where the monastery was later erected. Lluc is considered to be the most important pilgrimage site on Majorca. It is also known for its boys" ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Escorca, Spain

Monastery of San Xoán de Caaveiro

The Monastery of San Xoán de Caaveiro was founded in the tenth century by Saint Rudesind. It is situated in A Capela, within the Fragas do Eume natural park.
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: A Capela, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Palazzo Colonna

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.