Monasteries in Spain

Monastery of San Paio de Abeleda

The Monastery of San Paio de Abeleda is a medieval monastery built in the 12th century located 2 km from Abeleda village. Today found in a state of ruins, it was originally one of the most influential monastic centres in the province and was converted into an abbey surviving until the 19th century Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal. It was acquired by the House of Alba in 1872. The church was built in the Roman ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Castro Caldelas, 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

Monastery of Santa María de Toloño

Santa María de Toloño is a ruined Spanish monastery located in the Sierra de Toloño near Labastida. Constructed by the Hieronymites, the monastery was destroyed in the First Carlist War and only a few walls remain. The sanctuary is located in a meadow at 1,201 metres above sea level. It was built by the Hieronymites between the 14th and 15th centuries, and abandoned in 1422 due to harsh weather. Later, it was affiliat ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Labastida, 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

Quejana Monastery

Quejana Monastery was built in the late 14th century and consists of fortified palace of Ayala noble family, Dominican convent and the church.  There are tombs of Pedro López de Ayala and his wife Leonor de Guzmán. 
Founded: 14th century | Location: Ayala, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by  Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.

After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.

In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.

In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.