Monastery of San Salvador de Oña

Oña, Spain

San Salvador de Oña monastery was founded by Sancho García, the Count of Castile, for his daughter Tigridia, as a double monastery in 1011. The nuns came from the Monastery of San Juan in Cillaperlata, while the monks were from the Monastery of San Salvador in Loberuela.

In October 1033, King Sancho III of Navarre gave the monastery to the Abbey of Cluny, by which it became a part of the largest monastic organization of the era. It flourished during this period, coming to have over 70 other monasteries and churches under its authority.

In 1506 the monastery joined the Benedictine Congregation of Valladolid, which had a program of a return to the reformation of the monastic life, following a strict interpretation of the Rule of Saint Benedict. It was badly damaged during the Peninsular War of the Napoleonic era, and the monks were dispersed.

In 1835, the monastic church was converted into a parish church to serve the people of the town. The property of the monastery was returned to the Catholic Church in 1880, when it was acquired by the Society of Jesus. They occupied the buildings for nearly 90 years.

The monastic complex came into the possession of the Province of Burgos in 1968, at which time it was used as a psychiatric hospital.

The surviving architecture of the monastic complex is a series of connected buildings, ranging in date from the Romanesque style of the 12th century, commonly seen in Cluniac monasteries, to the Gothic renovations of the 15th century.

The gate to the monastery is a notable example of the Mudéjar style.

The interior of the monastery church measures 83 meters by 20 meters, with a height of 20 meters. It was renovated in the 15th century and contains a number of paintings attributed to a monk of the community, Dom Alonso of Zamora.

In the sanctuary can be seen a Renaissance-era altarpiece of the Immaculate Conception, along with remains from the medieval altarpiece it replaced in the 15th century. The choir has a domed vault built about 1460 by Fernando Díaz. An apse was opened in it during the 18th century to house the relics of St. Íñigo of Oña (died 1057), one of the first abbots of the monastery. The choir stalls there, also from that period, were carved in walnut by Dom Pedro of Valladolid.

The Monastery of San Salvador became the final resting place for many of the leading figures of northern Spain, especially during its early centuries of operation.



Your name


Founded: 1011
Category: Religious sites in Spain

More Information


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

maria jose (2 years ago)
A wonder and a pleasant surprise because I had no knowledge of this heritage. It is huge, although you only visit the church and the cloister. The entrance is €3 and it is worth it, with your mobile you read the QR code and it is the audio guide that accompanies you on the visit. Anthony, Mr. Entrance volunteer answers any history questions. I apologize for the photos, because I did not know that it was forbidden to take them, but I still encourage some traveler to come. Oña and its surroundings are worth a visit. The altarpiece of the church is unique, at least I don't know of one like it, because it is like a triumphal arch. The stalls, the tombs of the kings on the sides of the altarpiece, the have to come and contemplate it. To enter there are quite a few stairs.
Javier M G (2 years ago)
For some time now I have been able to visit many great monasteries, both in Spain and in Portugal. This one is awesome. But don't visit the Library. There was a drawing of how it is and it would be wonderful to see it
Hemati (2 years ago)
The place is amazing, one of those that you enter and open your mouth in surprise and don't close it until you leave. The impressive church, the wonderful wooden choir, and the cloister worthy of admiration. Thank Antonio for all his attention and desire to explain any questions to the visitor. Without a doubt, thanks to volunteers like him, great visits and better memories are achieved.
Edwin Valencia (4 years ago)
Impressive monument. An old Benedictine monastery, there are remains of a huge fish farm, the extensive wall that delimited the monks' estates. Monument to Fray Pedro Ponce de León, a Benedictine monk who was a pioneer in the education of the deaf. The monastery is also a pantheon of the first king of Castile and preserves the remains of the counts from the time when it was only a county. It is worth observing the architecture and art that the Cluniac Benedictine monks forged.
César Carazo (4 years ago)
It is a truly exceptional monastery, a royal and county pantheon, which treasures a multitude of jewels, such as its main altarpiece in the shape of a triumphal arch, the choir and the wooden tombs of the counts and kings of Castile. Indispensable for all lovers of history and art. Its Gothic cloister is magnificent. Take some time to visit the town as it has a lot of charm.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Doune Castle

Doune Castle was originally built in the thirteenth century, then probably damaged in the Scottish Wars of Independence, before being rebuilt in its present form in the late 14th century by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany (c. 1340–1420), the son of King Robert II of Scots, and Regent of Scotland from 1388 until his death. Duke Robert"s stronghold has survived relatively unchanged and complete, and the whole castle was traditionally thought of as the result of a single period of construction at this time. The castle passed to the crown in 1425, when Albany"s son was executed, and was used as a royal hunting lodge and dower house.

In the later 16th century, Doune became the property of the Earls of Moray. The castle saw military action during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and Glencairn"s rising in the mid-17th century, and during the Jacobite risings of the late 17th century and 18th century.