Religious sites in Spain

Almería Cathedral

Almería cathedral was built in Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles from 1524 to 1562. Its last bell was built in 1805. It had a dual role: as a place of worship, but also to protect the citizens when pirates attacked the city of Almeria after the Reconquest. After an earthquake destroyed the previous structure, the cathedral is constructed, like so many churches in Spain, on the site of a mosque. Largely late Go ...
Founded: 1524-1562 | Location: Almería, Spain

Santa María Magdalena Church

Santa María Magdalena was built in 1691-1709 under design of architect Leonardo de Figueroa, above a medieval church built after the Christian conquest of the city in 1248. The façade has three portals, one featuring a sculpture of 'St. Dominic' by Pedro Roldán. Above the portals are an oculus, sided by two blue spheres symbolizing the mystery of the rosary, and a bell-gable (1697). All the exterior of ...
Founded: 1691-1709 | Location: Seville, Spain

Santo Domingo de Silos

The monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos dates back to the Visigothic period of the 7th century. In the 10th century, the abbey was called San Sebastián de Silos, but acquired its current name when Santo Domingo was entrusted to renovate the abbey by Fernando the Great, King of Castile and León. The abbot designed the church to have a central nave with two side aisles and five chapels attached to its apse and ...
Founded: 7th century AD | Location: Santo Domingo de Silos, Spain

Basílica de Santa María la Mayor

The basilica of Santa Maria la Mayor is one of the jewels in the crown of Galician Gothic architecture. It was built in the 16th century, by order of the Guild of fishermen. It was granted the status of small basilica in 1962, by Pope John XXIII.  The west façade that was designed by Cornelius de Holanda, has been built in the style of an altarpiece, with three ornately decorated sections. There is a massive transept i ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Pontevedra, Spain

St. Teresa Church

St. Teresa Church was built on the house in which Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada was born and is part of the Carmelite convent. Underground, the large vaulted burial crypt, which is currently used as the Museum of St Teresa, is the only example of its kind in Spanish religious architecture. The work was directed by the Carmelite architect Fray Alonso de San José and began in 1629. The building was opened on 15 October 1636. ...
Founded: 1629 | Location: Ávila, Spain

Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Atocha

The Royal Basilica of Our Lady of Atocha is one of the six basilica churches in Madrid. The buildings on the site have a long history. The original name refers to a lost icon from a chapel which was found during the time of the Reconquista. The old church was in disrepair and rebuilt in the 1890s in a Neo-Byzantine style designed by Fernando Arbós y Tremanti. The church was destroyed during the Spanish Civil Wa ...
Founded: 1890s | Location: Madrid, Spain

Monastery of Saint Dominic of Silos

The Monastery of Saint Dominic of Silos (the Old) (Monasterio de Santo Domingo de Silos el Antiguo) is a Cistercian monastery in Toledo. It was first founded in the 6th century and rebuilt in 1085 by Pedro Alcocer during the reign of Alfonso VI of Leon and Castille. It underwent major rebuilding work in the second half of the 16th century, in which the mudéjar church was demolished. The new building was begun by Ni ...
Founded: 1085 | Location: Toledo, Spain

Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor

The Collegiate church of Santa María la Mayor (Church of Saint Mary the Great) is one of the most characteristic examples of transitional Romanesque architecture in Spain, the church of Santa María la Mayor is inspired by the Cathedral of Zamora, in turn inspired by the Old Cathedral of Salamanca. The tower-dome is usually listed as one of the four most typical in León together with those in the cathedrals of S ...
Founded: 1170 | Location: Toro, Spain

San Juan Monastery

Monasterio de San Juan was founded in 1091, when the kings Alfonso VI and Constance of Burgundy donated a small land to monk Lesmes, who came from the Chaise-Dieu abbey. In 1537 a fire destroyed practically the whole monastery. The reconstruction lasted until the confiscation. During the first half of the 19th century, several confiscations destroyed the heritage of the monastery and the hospital of San Juan. The monks ...
Founded: 1091 | Location: Burgos, Spain

Burgo de Osma Cathedral

The Cathedral of Burgo de Osma is in the Gothic architectural style, and was constructed on an area previously occupied by a Romanesque church. It is one of the best preserved medieval buildings in the country and considered one of the best examples of thirteenth-century gothic architecture in Spain. The building of the church started in 1232, and was completed in 1784. The cloister is from 1512. The tower is from 17 ...
Founded: 1232 | Location: Burgo de Osma, Spain

Santuari de Lluc

The Santuari de Lluc is a monastery and pilgrimage site located in a basin on a height of 525 metres and is surrounded by a number of high mountains. The sanctuary was founded in the 13th century after a Moorish shepherd found a statue of the Virgin Mary on the site where the monastery was later erected. Lluc is considered to be the most important pilgrimage site on Majorca. It is also known for its boys" ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Escorca, Spain

Church of St. Jaume

The construction of St. Jaume"s Church is a consequence of the increasing devotion that Alcudia and the neighbouring villages felt for Saint Christ. It was believed that Saint Christ had sweated water and blood in 1507 in the cave of Sant Marti (on the outskirts of the city) to implore for rain during a drought. The first stone was laid on 8 December 1675 and the works finished in 1697. The chapel is notable for the ...
Founded: 1675-1697 | Location: Alcúdia, Spain

San Dionisio Church

The Church of San Dionisio was built in the late 15th century in Gothic-Mudéjar style, although its interior was later renovated in Baroque style (18th century) by architects Diego Antonio Díaz and Pedro de Silva. The parish was established by Alfonso X the Wise in the name of Saint Denis as the city was returned to Christian rule on Saint Denis"s Day in 1264. The church has a basilica plan, divided into t ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

Ciudad Rodrigo Cathedral

Construction of the Ciudad Rodrigo Cathedral began in the 12th century and did not finish until the 14th century. The architecture of the cathedral is uniform, despite later reforms and additions that can be seen in some of the chapels, such as the San Blas chapel. The Portico del Perdón alone contains more than 400 Romanesque and Gothic sculptures of great beauty. Although it began in the 12th century, the work continu ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ciudad Rodrigo, Spain

Monastery of San Juan de Duero

Monastery of San Juan de Duero, built in the Romanesque style, consists of a single nave with a wooden roof, semicircular apse, and a pointed barrel vault. From the 12th century it belonged to the Knights Hospitaller of Jerusalem, until it was abandoned in the 18th century. The 12th century church and the 13th cloister, with Gothic and Mudéjar elements, are still standing.The arcades combine the various architectural sty ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Soria, Spain

San Nicolás de la Villa Church

San Nicolás de la Villa is one of the twelve Fernandine churches built in the city after its conquest by King Ferdinand III of Castile (1236), in Gothic-Mudéjar style, although it was completed only in the following centuries, with much renovation added in the meantime. The main portal, in Renaissance style, was added by Hernán Ruiz the Younger in the 16th century. The octagonal tower, with a defensive appearanc ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Córdoba, Spain

Miraflores Charterhouse

Miraflores Charterhouse is an Isabelline style Carthusian monastery built on a hill (known as Miraflores) about three kilometers of the center of Burgos. Its origin dates back to 1442, when king John II of Castile donated a hunting lodge located outside city of Burgos, which had been erected by his father Henry III of Castile 'the Mourner' in 1401, to the Order of the Carthusians for its conversion int ...
Founded: 1442 | Location: Burgos, Spain

Santa María Magdalena de Zamora

Built in the 12th century, Santa María Magdalena is a small Romanesque church of the Templars. At their suppression, it was given to the Venerable Order of Saint John. The exterior features a deeply recessed south entrance, with circular arches and shafts, as well as ornate Romnnesque work. The rose window, formed with small columns, is similar to the Temple Church in London. The interior includes canopied tombs dat ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Zamora, Spain

Sobrado Abbey

Sobrado Abbey was founded in 952 by Count Hermenegildo Alóitez and his wife Paterna. In 958, the founders transferred the county of Présaras to the monastery and, in that same year, Hermenegildo retired there where he lived as a monk the rest of his life and where he was buried. The abbey was inherited by his descendants and nearly two centuries later, in January 1142, the brothers Fernando and Bermudo Pérez, two of th ...
Founded: 952 AD | Location: Sobrado, Spain

Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida

The Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida is a Neoclassical chapel, best known for its ceiling and dome frescoes by Francisco Goya. It is also his former burial place. The chapel was built in the general location of two prior chapels built in the 1730s, which were on the land of a farm called La Florida. The present structure was built by Felipe Fontana from 1792 to 1798 on the orders of King Carlos IV, who ...
Founded: 1792-1798 | Location: Madrid, 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.