Monasteries in Spain

Santa María de Cenarruza Monastery

The Collegiate Church of Cenarruza was an important enclave in the Route of Santiago de Compostela, and its influence extended beyond the comarca and surpassed the religious scope. Tradition marks its founding in the 10th century. According to legend, on the day of the Assumption in the year 968 the local inhabitants held a mass in the Church of Santa Lucia de Garay, when an eagle picked up a skull from an opened tomb ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Ziortza-Bolibar, 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

San Juan Bautista de Corias

The Monastery of St John the Baptist is located on the right bank of the River Narcea, and communicates with the village of Corias via a stone bridge dating from the 14th century. It was founded in 1032 by Count Piniolo and his wife, Aldonza. It reached the peak of its power in the 12th and 13th centuries. In 1763, it suffered a major fire which destroyed all the monastic buildings, only the church, the sacristy and the l ...
Founded: 1032 | Location: Corias, 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

Monastery of La Encarnación

The Monastery of La Encarnación was founded inside the town's walls in 1478, and as a Carmelite convent it was moved to outside the town in the 16th century. The new monastery was built on land that had been acquired by the Council on what had previously been a Jewish cemetery. On 4 April 1515, the date on which the saint was baptised, the unfinished monastery was opened with four naves enclosing a central courtyard and ...
Founded: 1478 | Location: Ávila, Spain

Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza

San Pedro de Arlanza is a ruined Benedictine monastery located in the valley of the river Arlanza in Hortigüela, Burgos. Founded in 912, it has been called the 'cradle of Castile' (cuna de Castilla). It was abandoned in 1841 during the confiscations the government of Juan Álvarez Mendizábal, when ecclesiastical properties were roundly redistributed. San Pedro"s two purported founding documents, preser ...
Founded: 912 AD | Location: Hortigüela, Spain

Santa María de Gradefes

Founded in 1168, the building of the Santa María de Gradefes Church, according to an engraving on the northern lower wall, began on March 1st, 1177 under the patronage of the woman who became its Abbess -Teresa Pérez, widow of García Pérez, a knight of Alfonso VII. The first community was made up of Cistercian nuns who came from the monastery of Tulebras, Navarra. It became an important and privileged female monastery ...
Founded: 1168 | Location: Gradefes, Spain

Santa María de La Vid Monastery

Santa María de La Vid is a monastery in Spain"s Duero Valley was founded on a different site, a place called Montesacro, in about 1146 by Domingo Gómez, illegitimate son of Queen Urraca of León and Castile and her lover Count Gómez González de Candespina. Domingo had become interested in the Praemonstratensian order on a visit to France, and this was the first Praemonstratensian house in Spain. The monastery wa ...
Founded: 1152 | Location: La Vid y Barrios, Spain

Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de Gracia

Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de Gracia was originally founded in the old district of “La Villa” in the early 16th century but because of its small size and poor condition, the monastery was moved to the current location named “de la Concepción”. As the statute of our lady of Grace was ancient and was donated by the Catholic Monarchs, the convent’s name was changed to the name we know today. The current Monaste ...
Founded: 1555 | Location: Vélez-Málaga, Spain

Monastery of San Pedro de Rocas

Monastery of San Pedro de Rocas, which is unique due to the fact that it is excavated in the natural rock, displays none of the delicate Gothic structures nor the harmonious proportions of the Renaissance style. It is a very ancient, rough, almost primitive construction, which witnessed the first hermit settlements in the area. The historical value of San Pedro de Rocas (St. Peter of the Rocks) is more anthropological th ...
Founded: 573 AD | Location: Esgos, Spain

Royal Convent of Santa Clara

The Santa Clara buildings were originally built by King Alfonso XI as his palace in 1344. His son Peter the Cruel had it embellished by Mudéjar artists, beautiful works at Santa Clara, though on a much smaller scale than they did in the Alcázar of Seville. The facade, a lovely small patio, a chapel and the baths remain of Peter the Cruel"s palace. Blanche de Bourbon was held here after her abandonment by Pe ...
Founded: 1344 | Location: Tordesillas, Spain

San Pedro de las Dueñas Monastery

Monastery of San Pedro de las Dueñas was built in the late 10th century and beginning of the 11th century. It is one of the most representative churches of Mudejar Romanesque in its Pre-classical period, began in stone and finished in brick (1087 and 1110) and Basilical ground plan. Over the presbytery of the chancel stands a brick tower, it is square with progressively decreasing sections.There is an interesting collec ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: San Pedro de las Dueñas, Spain

Monasterio de San Salvador de Cornellana

Monasterio de San Salvador in Cornellana is a monastery located in the municipality of Salas. Consisting of several Romanesque style buildings which started to be built in the 11th century, the monastery was founded by infanta Cristina Bermúdez, daughter of Bermudo II of León and his first wife Queen Velasquita Ramírez. She founded the monastery in 1024 after the death of her husband, infante Ordoño Ramírez  ...
Founded: 1024 | Location: Salas, Spain

Jerez de la Frontera Charterhouse

The Charterhouse of Jerez de la Frontera architecture is of a Late Gothic style, corresponding to the start of construction in the 15th century, with Baroque aspects dating from the 17th century. The building, completed in the 17th century, has been designated by the Spanish government as an Historic-Artistic Monument. The impulse behind the monastery dates back to Alvaro Obertos de Valeto, a knight of Genovese descen ...
Founded: 1475 | Location: Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

San Jerónimo de Valparaíso Monastery

On the hills above the amazing Medina Azahara, nestling in the mountains of Córdoba and surrounded by native Mediterranean vegetation, stands this impressive 15th century monastery. It was originally Gothic in style, although different reforms in Renaissance and Baroque style have added a wealth of interesting details to the building. The owners, the Marquises of El Mérito, have done a great job over several generation ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Córdoba, Spain

San Isidoro del Campo Monastery

Located in Santiponce, the Monasterio de San Isidoro del Campo was founded somewhere near the Roman ruins of Itálica, by Alfonso Pérez de Guzmán and María Coronel Alonso in 1301, where according to tradition San Isidoro de Sevilla had been buried. His remains were discovered and moved to León in 1063. Since its foundation, the monastery has been under the spiritual and temporary administration of different reli ...
Founded: 1301 | Location: Santiponce, Spain

Monastery of Santa María de Meira

Monastery of Santa María de Meira was established probably in the 12th century. Today only the medieval church exists, it was consecrated in 1258.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Meira, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kisimul Castle

Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.

Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.

The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.