Religious sites in Spain

Church of Santos Mártires

Founded in 1487 and dedicated to San Ciriaco and Santa Paula, the patron saints of Malaga, who according to legend died defending their Christian faith, this pretty church features a striking Mudejar town, as well as a richly decorated baroque style interior, which includes a sculpture by Franciso Oritz.
Founded: 1487 | Location: Málaga, Spain

Segovia Cathedral

Begun in 1525, the construction of Segovia Cathedral was ordered by Charles V to replace an earlier cathedral near the Alcázar, which had been destroyed during the War of the Comuneros, a revolt against that king. The designs for the cathedral were drawn up by the leading late-Gothicist Juan Gil de Hontañón but executed by his son Rodrigo, in whose work can be seen a transition from the Gothic to the Renaissance style ...
Founded: 1525-1577 | Location: Segovia, Spain

Salvador Church

The Salvador church was erected on the remains of the Ibn Adabba, the Great Mosque of Muslim Seville (9th century). This religious temple, as well as its surroundings, had great importance in the daily life of the people, which is why when the Christians conquered Seville, they allowed it to be used as a mosque in the beginning, but in 1340, it was converted into the parish of Salvador. In addition, it was agreed to main ...
Founded: 1674 | Location: Seville, Spain

San Sebastian Church

The Saint Sebastian Church is a 16th-century church in central Madrid. The name arises from a devotional chapel which was found along the route to the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Atocha, founded in 1541. The first architect around 1550 was Antonio Sillero, who also finished the Chapel of the Sagrado Corazón. This church like that of San Luis conserved for years the rights of asylum for those escaping official pers ...
Founded: 1550 | Location: Madrid, Spain

Cádiz Cathedral

Cádiz Cathedral built between 1722 and 1838. The Plaza de la Catedral houses both the Cathedral and the Baroque Santiago church, built in 1635. The church was known as 'The Cathedral of The Americas' because it was built with money from the trade between Spain and America. The 18th century was a golden age for Cádiz, and the other cathedral that the city had got, Santa Cruz, was very small for this new mome ...
Founded: 1722-1838 | Location: Cádiz, Spain

San Jerónimo el Real

San Jerónimo el Real, which has undergone numerous remodelings and restorations over the centuries, is the remaining structure of the Hieronymite monastery that once stood beside the royal palace of Buen Retiro, of which a portion now serves as the Prado museum. Its proximity to the royal palace also underscores a connection to royalty, serving for centuries as the church used for the investiture of the Prince of As ...
Founded: 1503-1505 | Location: Madrid, Spain

Iglesia del Sacramento

The Iglesia del Sacramento is a 17th-century, Baroque-style church. Since 1980 it has been the Military Cathedral of Spain and the seat of the Military Archbishop of Spain. It is considered by many experts to be a magnificent example of Madrid’s religious baroque style, despite the many imperfections it has suffered through time.
Founded: 1671 | Location: Madrid, Spain

San Bartolomé Chapel

The Chapel of San Bartolomé is a funerary chapel in the historic centre of Córdoba. It is dated between 1390 and 1410. Richly decorated, it is one of the city"s finest examples of Mudéjar art. Located on the Calle Averroes in today"s Faculty of Arts building, the relatively unknown chapel is one of the city"s most notable monuments. With the development of the Alcázar Viejo district in 1391 and the lat ...
Founded: 1390-1410 | Location: Córdoba, Spain

Valladolid Cathedral

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Assumption in Valladolid was originally designed as the largest cathedral in Europe. Initially planned as the Cathedral for the capital city of Spain, ultimately, only 40-45% of the intended project was completed, due to lack of resources after the court moved towards Madrid, and the expenses caused by the difficult foundations of the church. The structure has its origins in a late ...
Founded: 1589 | Location: Valladolid, Spain

Ávila Cathedral

The Cathedral of Ávila has Romanesque and Gothic architectural traditions. It was planned as a cathedral-fortress, its apse being one of the turrets of the city walls. It is surrounded by a number of houses or palaces. It is not known exactly when the construction of the Cathedral began, there being two theories. One states that Alvar García started its construction in 1091 inside the remains of the Church of the ...
Founded: 1091 | Location: Ávila, Spain

Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal

Santiago del Arrabal was built in 1245-1248 at the orders of Sancho II on the site of an older church and a mosque that is known to have been used since 1125. Many characteristics of the mosque have remained in the present building which is built in the Mudéjar architectural style. The church is named after Saint James (Santiago) of the outskirts (Arrabal). The patrons of the church during its foundation were members ...
Founded: 1245-1248 | Location: Toledo, Spain

Santa María La Antigua

Under the current Santa María La Antigua church foundations have been found remains of a Roman hypocaustum. The church was likely founded in 1095 by Count Pedro Ansúrez, although there are no remains of this original structure. The oldest parts of the current temple date to the late 12th century: the gallery in the northern side of the building and the tower, both in Romanesque style. The tower, one of the symbols o ...
Founded: 1095 | Location: Valladolid, Spain

Córdoba Synagogue

Córdoba Synagogue is a historic edifice in the Jewish Quarter of Córdoba, built in 1315. The synagogue"s small size points to it having possibly been the private synagogue of a wealthy man. It was decorated according to the best Mudejar tradition. After the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, the synagogue was seized by the authorities and converted into a hospital for people suffering from rabies (hydrophobia), the Ho ...
Founded: 1315 | Location: Córdoba, Spain

Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes

The Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes was founded by King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile to commemorate both the birth of their son, Prince John, and their victory at the Battle of Toro (1476) over the army of Afonso V of Portugal. Toledo was chosen as the site for building the monastery due to its central geographic location and because it had been the capital of the ancient Visigoth kin ...
Founded: 1477 | Location: Toledo, Spain

Santa María la Blanca Synagogue

The Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca  was erected in 1180, according to an inscription on a beam, it is disputably considered the oldest synagogue building in Europe still standing. It is now owned and preserved by the Catholic Church. Its stylistic and cultural classification is unique among surviving buildings as it was constructed under the Christian Kingdom of Castile by Islamic architects for Jewish use. It ...
Founded: 1180 | Location: Toledo, Spain

Santiago Church

Iglesia de Santiago is the oldest church in Málaga, built in 1490 to the site of older mosque. This church is noted for its tall Mudejar style steeple and baroque interior which contains some notable chapels. Pablo Picasso"s baptismal certificate is on display here. Pablo Picasso was baptisted there in 1881.
Founded: 1490 | Location: Málaga, Spain

Igrexa de Santiago Church

Church of Santiago (Igrexa de Santiago) is one of A Coruna"s oldest buildings, the . Originally built in the 12th century, it was modified in the 14th and 15th centuries and has huge historic significance on account of a 13th century statue of Saint James which it houses. Some of the more prominent aspects of the churches detailing originate from the fifteenth century and are gothic in design. The photo to the right ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: A Coruña, Spain

Iglesia de San Pablo

The Iglesia conventual de San Pablo or San Pablo de Valladolid is a church and former convent, of Isabelline style, in the city of Valladolid, in Castile and León, Spain. The church was commissioned by Cardinal Juan de Torquemada between 1445 and 1468. It was subsequently extended and refurbished until 1616. Kings Philip II and Philip IV of Spain were baptized in the church, and it was visited by Napoleon. ...
Founded: 1445-1616 | Location: Valladolid, Spain

El Escorial

The Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, commonly known as El Escorial, is a historical residence of the King of Spain about 45 kilometres northwest of Madrid. It is one of the Spanish royal sites and has functioned as a monastery, basilica, royal palace, pantheon, library, museum, university and hospital. El Escorial comprises two architectural complexes of great historical and cultural significance: the royal ...
Founded: 1563 | Location: San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain

San Juan Bautista Church

Founded in 1490, the San Juan Bautista church"s baroque style tower above the main entrance was added in 1770. Inside are several fine chapels and a rich altarpiece. The 17th century figure of San Juan is the work of Francisco Ortiz.
Founded: 1490 | Location: Málaga, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Klis Fortress

From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.

Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.

In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.

Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.