Monasteries in Spain

Monastery of Leyre

The Monastery of San Salvador of Leyre is a religious complex to the south of the Sierra of Leyre, representing one of the most important historical monasteries of Spain. The oldest records of the site date from 842, when Íñigo Arista, considered the first king of Pamplona, and Wilesindo, Bishop of Pamplona, made a donation to the monastery. The monastery grew in importance thereafter, acquiring numerous properties and ...
Founded: 842 AD | Location: Yesa, 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

Monastery of San Juan de Duero

Monastery of San Juan de Duero, built in the Romanesque style, consists of a single nave with a wooden roof, semicircular apse, and a pointed barrel vault. From the 12th century it belonged to the Knights Hospitaller of Jerusalem, until it was abandoned in the 18th century. The 12th century church and the 13th cloister, with Gothic and Mudéjar elements, are still standing.The arcades combine the various architectural sty ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Soria, Spain

Santa María de Valdediós Monastery

Monasterio de Santa María de Valdediós is a 13th-century Catholic monastery near Villaviciosa. The Cistercian monastery was founded by Alfonso IX and dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was built by master builder Gualterio between 1218 and 1226, according to an inscription on the northern portal. Throughout its history, the monastery has had different uses, housing a secondary school and a sem ...
Founded: 1200-1226 | Location: Villaviciosa, Spain

Miraflores Charterhouse

Miraflores Charterhouse is an Isabelline style Carthusian monastery built on a hill (known as Miraflores) about three kilometers of the center of Burgos. Its origin dates back to 1442, when king John II of Castile donated a hunting lodge located outside city of Burgos, which had been erected by his father Henry III of Castile 'the Mourner' in 1401, to the Order of the Carthusians for its conversion int ...
Founded: 1442 | Location: Burgos, Spain

Sobrado Abbey

Sobrado Abbey was founded in 952 by Count Hermenegildo Alóitez and his wife Paterna. In 958, the founders transferred the county of Présaras to the monastery and, in that same year, Hermenegildo retired there where he lived as a monk the rest of his life and where he was buried. The abbey was inherited by his descendants and nearly two centuries later, in January 1142, the brothers Fernando and Bermudo Pérez, two of th ...
Founded: 952 AD | Location: Sobrado, Spain

San Esteban Monastery

The monastery of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil is one of the most prominent and spectacular of the rich monumental heritage of Galicia. It was built between the 12th and 18th centuries. According to most ancient tradition, Santo Estevo was founded in the 6th century by Saint Martín Dumiense. With the privilege of Ordoño II, issued on 12th October of the year 921, the documented history about this monastery begins. The K ...
Founded: 921 AD | Location: Nogueira de Ramuín, Spain

Sacromonte Monastery

The Abbey of El Sacromonte was founded in the 17th century. Under the church there are the catacombs where St. Cecilio, the first bishop and actual Patron of Granada, suffered martyrdom. The monument was designed by Juan de Maeda and finished in 1567. The front façade, by Pedro de Orea, is a magnificent example of the Renaissance period in Andalusia at the end of the 16th century.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Granada, Spain

Monastery of la Ascensión de Nuestro Señor

Monastery of la Ascensión de Nuestro Señor in Lerma was founded in 1604.
Founded: 1604 | Location: Lerma, Spain

Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas

The Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas is a monastery of Cistercian nuns located approximately 1.5 km west of the city of Burgos. Historically, the monastery has been the site of many weddings of royal families, both foreign and Spanish, including that of Edward I of England to Eleanor of Castile in 1254, for example. In 1187, Pope Clement III issued a papal bull authorising the founding of a ...
Founded: 1187 | Location: Burgos, Spain

Monastery of Irache

Santa María la Real de Irache is a former Benedictine monastery located in the town of Ayegui, Navarre, Spain. It dates from the eighth century, although the surviving buildings are later. Adjacent to the monastery is a winery called Bodegas Irache, which continues a tradition of viticulture which dates from monastic times. The monastery is first attested on a 958 document, and also cited in a donation done by King S ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Ayegui, Spain

Monastery of San Vicente do Pino

Above the plain of Monforte de Lemos rises a small hill which overlooks its entire expanse. This was the site chosen in the 10th century for building what would subsequently become the current monastery. It is also said that this was the location for the well-known Castrum Dactonium, of the Celtic Lemavos tribe, mentioned by the historians Ptolemy and Pliny the Elder. Construction of the current San Vicente del Pino mona ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Monforte de Lemos, Spain

Royal Monastery of Santo Tomás

The Dominican Monastery of Santo Tomás was built under the patronage of Hernando Núñez de Arnalte (treasurer of the Catholic Monarchs), his wife, María Dávila, the Inquisitor Fray Tomás de Torquemada and the Catholic Monarchs. The work began in 1482 and was completed in 1493; however, at the Catholic Monarchs" initiative, a palace was built around the eastern cloister, together with the sepulchre of Prince Jua ...
Founded: 1482-1493 | Location: Ávila, Spain

San Juan de Poio Monastery

Mercedarian monastery of San Juan de Poio was built in the 17th century and reflects the taste for combining Classicist and Baroque styles. The first document of the monastery on the site is however much older, dating from 942 AD. Inside, there is a splendid retable from the 18th century, in Churrigueresque style, and the tomb of St. Trahamunda is in the left-hand aisle (much venerated in the district). The procession cl ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Poio, Spain

Granada Charterhouse

Granada Charterhouse  is one of the finest examples of Spanish Baroque architecture. The charterhouse was founded in 1506; construction started ten years later, and continued for the following 300 years. While the exterior is a tame ember in comparison, the interior of the monastery"s is a flamboyant explosion of ornamentation. Its complex echoing geometric surfaces make of it one of the masterpieces of Churrigueres ...
Founded: 1506 | Location: Granada, Spain

Monastery of Santa María de Oseira

Monastery of Santa María de Oseira became a monastery of the Cistercian order in 1141, an order of French monks sent by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. The monks left in 1835 forced to leave by the government policies, abandoning it. They returned in 1929, this time being a community of Cistercians of the Strict Reform - commonly called Trappists. The monastery is popular stopping point on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compo ...
Founded: 1137-1141 | Location: San Cristovo de Cea, Spain

Monastery of San Salvador de Celanova

The monastery of San Salvador de Celanova was founded by St. Rudesind (San Rosendo) in 936. The jewel of the complex is the small mozarabic chapel of San Miguel, dating from 942. In the garden is one of the oldest chapels in Spain, built before 973. In the abbey church are the ancient sepulchres of Ilduara and Adosinda, the mother and sister of the founder, who was buried in a sepulchre supported on four pillars, and con ...
Founded: 936 AD | Location: Celanova, Spain

Carboeiro Monastery

The Monastery of San Lorenzo de Carboeiro is one of the most outstanding architectural works of the late Romanesque, the transition to the Gothic, in Galicia. Its gestation was founded in the year 939 AD. When the construction was completed, the priest Felix was chosen as the first abbot of the community. Its moments of greatest splendor were between 11th and 13th centuries. Abbot Fernando, from 1162 to 1192, expanded t ...
Founded: 936 AD | Location: Silleda, Spain

San Zoilo Monastery

This Benedictine San Zoilo monastery is on Saint James"s Way. The most important part of the building is the Plateresque cloister (16th century), which is adorned with medallions and busts.
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Carrión de los Condes, Spain

Convent of San Francisco

In the 14th century, after the fire that destroyed the first Franciscan convent in Ourense (located in the current Mayor’s Square), the order moved to this place on the side of Montealegre Hill, where they remained until the 19th century. In 1843 the old convent was transformed into infantry headquarters (until its closure in 1984), producing numerous reforms. The most significant of them was the move of the apse and fr ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Ourense, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Holy Trinity Column

The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is a Baroque monument built in 1716–1754 in honour of God. The main purpose was a spectacular celebration of Catholic Church and faith, partly caused by feeling of gratitude for ending a plague, which struck Moravia between 1713 and 1715. The column was also understood to be an expression of local patriotism, since all artists and master craftsmen working on this monument were Olomouc citizens, and almost all depicted saints were connected with the city of Olomouc in some way. The column is the biggest Baroque sculptural group in the Czech Republic. In 2000 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.

The column is dominated by gilded copper sculptures of the Holy Trinity accompanied by the Archangel Gabriel on the top and the Assumption of the Virgin beneath it.

The base of the column, in three levels, is surrounded by 18 more stone sculptures of saints and 14 reliefs in elaborate cartouches. At the uppermost stage are saints connected with Jesus’ earth life – his mother’s parents St. Anne and St. Joachim, his foster-father St. Joseph, and St. John the Baptist, who was preparing his coming – who are accompanied by St. Lawrence and St. Jerome, saints to whom the chapel in the Olomouc town hall was dedicated. Three reliefs represent the Three theological virtues Faith, Hope, and Love.

Below them, the second stage is dedicated to Moravian saints St. Cyril and St. Methodius, who came to Great Moravia to spread Christianity in 863, St. Blaise, in whose name one of the main Olomouc churches is consecrated, and patrons of neighbouring Bohemia St. Adalbert of Prague and St. John of Nepomuk, whose following was very strong there as well.

In the lowest stage one can see the figures of an Austrian patron St. Maurice and a Bohemian patron St. Wenceslas, in whose names two important Olomouc churches were consecrated, another Austrian patron St. Florian, who was also viewed as a protector against various disasters, especially fire, St. John of Capistrano, who used to preach in Olomouc, St. Anthony of Padua, a member of the Franciscan Order, which owned an important monastery in Olomouc, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a patron of students. His sculpture showed that Olomouc was very proud of its university. Reliefs of all twelve apostles are placed among these sculptures.

The column also houses a small chapel inside with reliefs depicting Cain's offering from his crop, Abel's offering of firstlings of his flock, Noah's first burnt offering after the Flood, Abraham's offering of Isaac and of a lamb, and Jesus' death. The cities of Jerusalem and Olomouc can be seen in the background of the last mentioned relief.