Royal Monastery of Santo Tomás

Ávila, Spain

The Dominican Monastery of Santo Tomás was built under the patronage of Hernando Núñez de Arnalte (treasurer of the Catholic Monarchs), his wife, María Dávila, the Inquisitor Fray Tomás de Torquemada and the Catholic Monarchs.

The work began in 1482 and was completed in 1493; however, at the Catholic Monarchs' initiative, a palace was built around the eastern cloister, together with the sepulchre of Prince Juan in the church after he had died in 1497.

As a see for the Inquisition, the University of Santo Tomás was opened in the 16th century and remained in operation until the 19th century. The monastery has been attacked many times throughout its history: sacked during the French invasion, abandoned after the sale of church lands ordered by Mendizábal and destroyed by fires in 1699 and 1936.

The church front is based on a segmental arch and two buttresses that run through the arch vertically. The subtlety is broken by the existence of a huge rose window and the no less imposing coat of arms of the Catholic Monarchs. The decoration is completed with 10 sculptures by Gil de Siloé.

The interior stands out thanks to the elegance of the main nave and the ramifications of the ribs that make up the vault above the transept, marking off the area dedicated to the sepulchre of Prince Juan. The complex has three cloisters.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Address

Calle Santa Fe, Ávila, Spain
See all sites in Ávila

Details

Founded: 1482-1493
Category: Religious sites in Spain

More Information

www.avilaturismo.com

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Paula Mortise (13 months ago)
Una visita necesaria en cualquier itinerario. La bóveda de crucería de la iglesia es espectacular, a la cual se puede entrar libremente. El precio de la entrada al monasterio es de 4 euros (no hay ningún tipo de descuento), la última visita es una hora antes del cierre, y si hay alguna ceremonia en curso no se permite acceder a la iglesia desde el monasterio; sí al coro. Es interesante la colección de arte oriental y no recomendable para un público sensible la colección de ciencias naturales, que consiste meramente en animales disecados.
Jose L. lo (2 years ago)
Ok
Juan Sandoval (2 years ago)
Beautiful, great architecture and other historical items
kendall martin (2 years ago)
Wonderful. Excellent facilities and outstanding food provided. Very caring people abound.
Alex Dragovic (2 years ago)
Large and quiet. Allow good 2 hours to walk around exploring different gardens, patios and rooms. There are small museums inside, natural history and oriental arts. First cluster is closed for renovation but still one of the nicest monasteries in Avila and a must visit
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens

Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).

It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.

After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.

UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.

Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.