Monasteries in Spain

San Miguel de Las Dueñas

Monastery of San Miguel de Las Dueñas founded in the 10th century and renovated in the late 12th century under the Cistercian rule. Its original name was San Miguel de Almázcara. A Romanesque portal gives way to the chapterhouse. The 17th century church houses a Baroque altarpiece and the renowned reliquary of the choir. There are two cloisters, the Claustro del Palacio (17th century) and a Neoclassical one.
Founded: 10th century | Location: San Miguel de las Dueñas, Spain

Monastery of St. Clare of Moguer

The Monastery of Santa Clara in Moguer is one of the most important examples of the mudejar architecture in occidental Andalusia. It was founded in 1337 by Sir Alonso Jofre Tenorio, an Admiral from Castile and his wife Lady Elvira Álvarez. It was a donation from Alfonso XI in 1333. It was for Franciscan- Clarisa Nuns. The monastery was built in a place next to the villa called “Santa Clara Country”, which was integr ...
Founded: 1337 | Location: Moguer, Spain

Santo Domingo de Guzman Convent

The town of Caleruega is the birthplace of Saint Dominic of Guzmán, one of Europe’s master evangelists. The monastery boasts an archive holding the records of various royal privileges, donations of the foundation, the ordination of several Masters of the Order and papal bulls, etc., dating back to the 13th century and whose excellent state of conservation is attributable to the painstaking care and attention provided b ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Caleruega, Spain

Monastery of Santa María de Villanueva de Oscos

Monasterio de Santa María de Villanueva de Oscos was founded in the 12th century as a Benedictine house. The monastic community was closed by the ecclesiastical confiscations of Mendizábal. The church has remained in use as a parish church. The cartulary preserves 616 parchments about the Middle Ages: 32 from the 12th century, 261 from the 13th century, 224 from the 14th century and 99 from the 15th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Villanueva de Oscos, Spain

San Salvador de Lérez Monastery

The Monastery of San Salvador or San Benito de Lérez was founded in the 10th century by Benedictine monks. The present church is Neo-Classical with an 18th-century Baroque façade, where the image of St. Benedict can be seen in a niche. Adjoining the southern wall, one wing of the 16th-century cloister is still standing. Some of the blocks in this wall show tomb engravings and Roman inscriptions, dating from the original ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Pontevedra, Spain

San Francisco Monastery

The convent of San Francisco was built during the 15th century to 18th century in Renaissance and Baroque style. Today it contains the Municipal Historical Archives and Iberoamerican Library.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Moguer, Spain

Santo Domingo Monastery

Santo Domingo Monastery in Archidona was founded in 1531 by the count of Ureña. The Renaissance style building is today used as a school.
Founded: 1531 | Location: Archidona, Spain

Convento de Santa Dorotea

The Convento de Santa Dorotea is an Augustinian nun"s convent in Burgos. It is a Gothic construction, and dates back to 1387, when Dorotea Rodriguez Valderrama, along with other devout women formed a nun"s community at the old church of Santa Maria la Blanca. The community adopted the rule of St. Augustine in 1429 with the support of Bishop Pablo de Santamaría. In 1457 they moved to the church of San Andrés, u ...
Founded: 1387 | Location: Burgos, Spain

Monastery of Santa María de Aciveiro

Monastery of Santa María de Aciveiro is a gem of Romanesque architecture, built in 1135 under the patronage of Galician King Alfonso VII and incorporated into the Cistercian Order around 1170. It was carefully restored with full respect to the original structure. Following the Cistercian layout, all rooms are organised around a cloister combining impeccable history, warmth and functionality: kitchen, refectory, scriptori ...
Founded: 1135 | Location: Forcarei, Spain

Santa María de Sandoval Monastery

Santa María de Sandoval Monastery was built on land donated in 1142 by Alfonso VII to Count Pedro Ponce de Minerva and his wife Estefanía Ramírez. After receiving numerous donations and possessing extensive territories, it entered decadence in the fifteenth century. In 1592 and 1615 it was grass of the flames, reason for which it had to be rebuilt. The permanence of the monks remained until 1835, date in which the exc ...
Founded: 1142 | Location: Mansilla Mayor, Spain

Santa Catalina Monastery

Santa Catalina Monastery construction started in in 1393, in a Romanesque style when Gothic standards were already taking hold. With Mendizábal"s disestablishment (1837) the Franciscans were obliged to abandon the monastery, and the building"s ownership and management passed to the army until the year 2000. The monastery has two cloisters, the best conserved of which is in Renaissance style. The church was mod ...
Founded: 1393 | Location: Ares, Spain

Santa Inés del Valle Monastery

Real Monasterio de Santa Inés del Valle (Royal Monastery of Saint Agnes of the Valley) is located in Écija. The convent is served by Poor Clares. Founded in the late 15th century, its church is designed in Baroque style and dates to the early 17th century.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Écija, Spain

San Pedro de Eslonza Monastery

The Monastery of San Pedro de Eslonza is a former Benedictine monastery in Gradefes. Today in ruins, it was once the second most important monastery in the province, after the monastery of San Benito in Sahagún. It was founded in 912 by King García I of León, but was destroyed by the Moorish ruler Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir in 988; it was therefore rebuilt in 1099 by the Urraca of Zamora, daughter of Ferdinand I ...
Founded: 912 AD | Location: Gradefes, Spain

The Abbey / La Abadia

The Abbey of Eskirotz and Ilarratz is on the World Heritage route of Santiago de Compostela in Spain at the foot of the Pyrenees. The parish church is known as the Church of St. Lucy (Santa Lucia), but collectively the buildings are listed as The Abbey of Eskirotz and Ilarratz (La Abadia de Eskirotz y Ilarratz). The Way of St. James or Camino de Santiago passes directly alongside the church. The building is one of some ...
Founded: Middle Ages | Location: Ilárraz, Spain

San Sebastián de Hano

San Sebastián de Hano monastery was founded in 1441 in the small island on delta area. It was rebuilt in the 17th century and dissolved in 1835.
Founded: 1441 | Location: Escalante, Spain

Benevívere Monastery

The Abbey of Santa Maria de Benevívere was ordered to be built in the twelfth century by Don Diego Martínez de Villamayor. He was a Castilian noble from the house of the counts of Bureba, who was very influential at court. He was the advisor of Alfonso VII and Sancho III, and treasurer of Alfonso VIII. After losing his wife he decided to retire and devote himself to the contemplative life. He laid the foundation of the ...
Founded: 1169 | Location: Carrión de los Condes, Spain

Santa Maria De Budejo Monastery

Santa María de Bujedo Monastery was probably founded between  1159-1172. The oldest documentary evidence confirming the existence of the monastery dates from 1182. It was confiscated in 1835. The church, built in the first half of the 13th century, has a Latin cross plan with a single nave. There are some remains left of the original monastery buildings dating to the the 13th century. Seven double capitals and four bas ...
Founded: c. 1159 | Location: Santa Cruz de Juarros, Spain

Monasterio de Santa María de Mezonzo

The Monastery of Santa María de Mezonzo is a Romanesque style former monastery. Although it probably dates back to the time of the Kingdom of the Suebi, the current monastery was founded as a double convent by Abbot Reterico. According to Antonio López Ferreiro, the monastery was donated to the Asturian-Galician king Alfonso III el Magno in 870. Justo Pérez de Urbel, after comparing the names of the confirmatory of sev ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Vilasantar, Spain

Convento de la Magdalena

Convento de la Magdalena was a convent, now a hotel, situated to the southwest of the town of Antequera. The convent was established in 1570 by the merchant, Ildefonso Alvarez, who possessed an altarpiece of the Virgin Magdalena. Alvarez took refuge in the area"s caves and lived like a hermit. In the following three years, he struggled to pay his debts and eventually attracted the attention of the Christian communit ...
Founded: 1570 | Location: Antequera, Spain

Monastery of Santa Clara

Monastery of Santa Clara is presided by nuns of the order of the Poor Clares. It was founded in 1358, but ruined in war in 1458. In 1460 the buildings were repaired and church rebuilt. During the War of Independence, the community was forced to leave the monastery, which suffered pillage and destruction by French troops. The church was built in Gothic style. It has Baroque style altarpieces from the 17th century, as we ...
Founded: 1358 | Location: Belorado, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.

Architecture

The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.