Founded in 1168, the building of the Santa María de Gradefes Church, according to an engraving on the northern lower wall, began on March 1st, 1177 under the patronage of the woman who became its Abbess -Teresa Pérez, widow of García Pérez, a knight of Alfonso VII. The first community was made up of Cistercian nuns who came from the monastery of Tulebras, Navarra. It became an important and privileged female monastery.
It is the only example in Spain of a female monastery having an ambulatory. In the church are the tombs with statues of the founding couple, a polychromatic work from the late 13th century. Kept in the monastery rooms are the polychromatic wooden carvings of a 12th century Virgin and a Gothic Christ, formerly part of a Calvary from the 14th century.
Valuable sculptures from the twelfth century. Fourteenth century tombs. Virgen de las Angustias (sixteenth century). Chalices, crucifixes and lignum crucis (largest section of the cross).
In monastic dependencies are kept polychrome carvings of a Virgin of the XII century and a Gothic Christ which was part of a Calvary of the XIV. Garments and shoes belonging to the founder are also kept.References:
The Church of St Donatus name refers to Donatus of Zadar, who began construction on this church in the 9th century and ended it on the northeastern part of the Roman forum. It is the largest Pre-Romanesque building in Croatia.
The beginning of the building of the church was placed to the second half of the 8th century, and it is supposed to have been completed in the 9th century. The Zadar bishop and diplomat Donat (8th and 9th centuries) is credited with the building of the church. He led the representations of the Dalmatian cities to Constantinople and Charles the Great, which is why this church bears slight resemblance to Charlemagne"s court chapels, especially the one in Aachen, and also to the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. It belongs to the Pre-Romanesque architectural period.
The circular church, formerly domed, is 27 m high and is characterised by simplicity and technical primitivism.