La Rábida Friary

La Rábida, Spain

The Friary of La Rábida (Convento de Santa María de la Rábida) is a Franciscan friary in Palos de la Frontera. It was founded in 1261; the evidence is a papal bull issued by Pope Benedict XIII in that year, allowing Friar Juan Rodríguez and his companions to establish a community on the coast of Andalucia. The first Christian building on the site was constructed over a small pre-existing Almohad building that lends its name (rábida or rápita, meaning 'watchtower' in Arabic) to the present monastery. The Franciscans have held great influence in the region ever since.

The buildings standing on the site today were erected in stages in the late fourteenth century and the early fifteenth century. The friary, and the church associated with it, display elements of Gothic and Moorish revival architecture; their walls are decorated with frescos by the twentieth-century Spanish artist, Daniel Vázquez Diaz (1882-1969). There is also a cloister and a museum, where numerous relics of the discovery of the Americas are displayed.

The buildings on the site have nearly 1,858 m2 of floor space and an irregular floor plan. Throughout its five hundred years of existence, the monastery has been refurbished and repaired countless times, but the most extensive modifications were undertaken as a result of damage from the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.

Christopher Columbus stayed at the friary two years before his famous first voyage, after learning that King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella had rejected his request for outfitting an expedition in search of the Indies. With the intervention of the guardian of La Rábida and the confessor to Isabella, Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, he was able to have his proposal heard.

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Founded: 1261
Category: Religious sites in Spain

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Tobias Madigan (2 months ago)
A thrilling experience to be in a very low-crowd, low tourist place where Columbus actually prayed and networked. - Well preserved, quiet, inspiring. - Very well done Museum with excellent English audio guide included and exquisitely friendly staff. Almost felt like I was in my hometown they were so nice. - Great art from contemporary times also gives and updated look into this place that changed the world forever. 500+ year old chapel and courtyards a must see. - the only negative was a film crew that was a bit rude in some of the rooms. Maybe that should be done on the day it’s closed.
Wilbur Torres (8 months ago)
Small but nice. They have audio guide de vicesecretario. Rich in history of Christopher Columbus.
Cristian Muresan (13 months ago)
One of the most beautiful trips back in time
Rafael Chavez Contreras (2 years ago)
This well-preserved monastery is where Christopher Columbus stayed and prayed prior to his first journey to America. The chapel is worth visiting. There is a special room that contains soil samples from all the American countries that have Spanish heritage.
Kate Cole (2 years ago)
We were blessed with an incredible singer being taped in the central courtyard. What an experience.
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