Monasteries in Spain

Monastery of San Antón

There were formerly a palace and garden of King Pedro I of Castile as well as the ruins of the old monastery of San Antón. It was dedicated to taking care of the sick people on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. At present, only the arch remains standing.
Founded: 1146 | Location: Castrojeriz, Spain

Monastery of Santa María la Real

From the 12th century the Monastery of Santa María la Real was the home of a Premonstratensian community. The architecture is in a transitional style between Romanesque and Gothic. The monastery was closed in the 19th century as a result of the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal. The buildings fell into ruin and in 1871 various capitals (dated circa 1200) were removed to the National Archaeological Museum ...
Founded: 1169 | Location: Aguilar de Campoo, Spain

Saint Mary of Parral Monastery

Monastery of Saint Mary of Parral is a Roman Catholic monastery of the enclosed monks of the Order of Saint Jerome just outside the walls of Segovia. It was founded by King Henry IV of Castile, who acquired the lands before he became king in 1454. Despite a generally irreligious life, Henry IV maintained connections with the Hieronymites and was buried in the sister-house of Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe. In ...
Founded: 1454 | Location: Segovia, Spain

Monastery of Santa María de Huerta

Monastery of Santa María de Huerta foundation was made by the king Alfonso VII of León and Castile, in fulfilment of a promise he made in the siege of Coria. For this project, the king brought in 1142, from the abbey of Berdoues in Gascony (France), a community of Cistercian monks, with their abbot Rodulfo. The monastery ransfer to the lands near the Jalón river in 1162. Alfonso VII of León and Castile l ...
Founded: 1179 | Location: Santa María de Huerta, Spain

San Pablo Monastery

In 1324, Infante Don Juan Manuel erected the contemporary Gothic-Mudejar convent, where he was subsequently buried, in what was once a fortress built by Alfonso X, the Wise. This emblematic monument was declared a Heritage of Cultural Interest in 1931 and can currently be visited on a free or guided tour. This Heritage of Cultural Interest boasts a façade with exuberant brick arches, made in the Gothic-Mudejar style, wh ...
Founded: 1324 | Location: Peñafiel, Spain

Monastery of San Salvador de Oña

San Salvador de Oña monastery was founded by Sancho García, the Count of Castile, for his daughter Tigridia, as a double monastery in 1011. The nuns came from the Monastery of San Juan in Cillaperlata, while the monks were from the Monastery of San Salvador in Loberuela. In October 1033, King Sancho III of Navarre gave the monastery to the Abbey of Cluny, by which it became a part of the largest monastic organizatio ...
Founded: 1011 | Location: Oña, Spain

San Pedro de Cardeña Monastery

San Pedro de Cardeña Monastery was founded before 902. The prosperity of the monastery in the early medieval period is reflected in the quality of its scriptorium, in which the monk Endura performed extraordinary works. The Blessed of San Pedro de Cardeña was made between 1175 and 1180, has 290 pages and 51 miniatures. The convent church dates from the 16th century; annexed is the Capilla del Cid, where the hero and ...
Founded: c. 902 AD | Location: San Pedro de Cardeña, Spain

Convento de San José

The Convento de San José is a monastery of Discalced Carmelite nuns in Ávila. It is situated not far from the center of the city but outside the medieval walls. Saint Teresa of Jesus was the driving force behind the foundation of the monastery, which was built from 1562 onwards. The statue in the facade was commissioned by King Philip III of Spain via artist Giraldo de Merlo. In 25 August 1963, Pope Paul VI ...
Founded: 1562 | Location: Ávila, Spain

Santa Clara Monastery

Santa Clara Monastery was founded by Don Sancho Sanchez de Velasco and his wife Doña Sancha García in 1313. Throughout the centuries almost all members of the Velasco family were buried there. The Gothic church has a single nave and is divided into side chapels. The High Altar has three altarpieces bathed in gold in the Rococo style. The museum shows the works of art and relics of the monastery, most donated by the fa ...
Founded: 1313 | Location: Medina de Pomar, Spain

Monastery of Santa María de Melón

The old Cistercian monastery of Melón contains in its church one of the largest and most imposing sanctuaries in Galician monastic architecture. It was founded by monks from Clairvaux Abbey in France, in 1142. It was once very powerful, as attested by the remaining architecture. Various rooms in the monastery, the galleries in the cloister and the two later chapels are currently undergoing restoration, as well as the en ...
Founded: 1142 | Location: Melón, Spain

Rioseco Abbey

Rioseco is a former Cistercian abbey situated in the Valle de Manzanedo, near the River Ebro. In 1148 the Cistercian Valbuena Abbey, of the filiation of Morimond, founded a daughter house in a small former hermitage in Quintanajuar, in the Páramo de Masa. In 1171 this new community received as a gift from the heirs of the nobleman Martino Martini de Uizozes the ancient monastery of Rioseco, the previous history ...
Founded: c. 1204 | Location: Valle de Manzanedo, Spain

Valbuena Abbey

Valbuena Abbey was founded in 1143 by Estefanía, daughter of Count Ermengol V of Urgell, and settled from Berdoues Abbey in France, of the filiation of Morimond. Valbuena received a number of privileges shortly after its foundation, and flourished to the point where it was able to settle three daughter houses of its own.  In the 14th century a decline set in. Valbuena remained a daughter house of Berdoues until 1430, w ...
Founded: 1143 | Location: Valbuena de Duero, Spain

Monastery of San Salvador de Villanueva

Monastery of San Salvador de Villanueva was founded in the 10th century by Count Santo (Osorio Gutiérrez). This Benedictine monastery today houses the Museum of Religious Art. The whole complex has been declared a Property of Cultural Interest, and consists of an abbey and the church, as well as various chapels, a monastery, two cloisters and a courtyard. The church’s Baroque façade is particularly worth noting. It wa ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Lourenzá, Spain

Moreruela Abbey

Moreruela Abbey is situated to the west of Granja de Moreruela, about 35 kilometres north of the town of Zamora close to the left bank of the Esla, a tributary of the Duero. Before the time of the Cistercians, a monastery of the Benedictines already stood on the site, founded for them either by the Asturian King Alfonso III or by Saint Froilan, which under the patronage of Alfonso VII the Cistercians took o ...
Founded: c. 1131 | Location: Granja de Moreruela, Spain

Monfero Abbey

Monfero Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery dedicated to Mary, Mother of Jesus. In the 10th century on the site of an earlier hermitage a Benedictine monastery was founded, dedicated to Saint Mark, and supported by king Bermudo II. It was destroyed by Norman raids, but later reconstructed under Alfonso VII in 1134 in collaboration with several nobles, including Alfonso Bermúdez, Count Pedro Osório and the Co ...
Founded: 1134 | Location: Monfero, Spain

Santa Ana Monastery

Santa Ana Monastery was founded in 1350. Only some parts remain from the original monastery, current buildings where mainly built in the 17th century.
Founded: 1350 | Location: Ávila, Spain

La Rábida Friary

The Friary of La Rábida (Convento de Santa María de la Rábida) is a Franciscan friary in Palos de la Frontera. It was founded in 1261; the evidence is a papal bull issued by Pope Benedict XIII in that year, allowing Friar Juan Rodríguez and his companions to establish a community on the coast of Andalucia. The first Christian building on the site was constructed over a small pre-existing Almohad building that lend ...
Founded: 1261 | Location: La Rábida, Spain

Santa María de Montederramo

Santa María de Montederramo"s origins seem to have been the old Church of San Juan, which grew into a monastery. It was founded as a Cistercian monastery by Doña Teresa, Alfonso VII´s daughter, in 1142, bringing French nuns from Claraval. Other writers refer to it as Cistercian in the year 1153, when it adopted the worship of St. Mary. In the year 1528, it joined the Cistercian Congregation, in Spain, with the bu ...
Founded: 1142 | Location: Montederramo, Spain

Monastery of San Miguel de Escalada

San Miguel de Escalada is located 10 km from the Way of St. James pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. The building is an example of Mozarabic art and architecture or Repoblación art and architecture. An inscription that has disappeared but was published by Father Risco in 1786 gave information about the church"s consecration in 951 by Bishop Genadio of Astorga, around the time of the founding of the ...
Founded: 951 AD | Location: Villamondrin de Rueda, Spain

Monastery of Xuvia

The Monastery of Xuvia, also known as San Martiño de Xuvia or San Martín de Xubia, is located in the Parish of the same name in the city of Narón. The current building was built at the beginning of the 12th century, in Romanesque style. The first document from the Diplomatic Collection of this Monastery, is dated 15 May in the year 977, and it describes a donation made by a Galician noblewoman called Visclavara Vistra ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Narón, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.