Audio File length: 2.59
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, I'm Alyson, your personal guide. Together with MyWoWo, I'd like to welcome you to one of the wonders of the world.

Today I'll accompany you through the Descalzas Reales Monastery.

This monastery is one of the most magnificent monuments in Madrid!

Just a short distance from Puerta del Sol, the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales is part convent, part museum, and partly a place of power. But above all, it's the monument of Madrid that best expresses the real sense of the "siglo de oro", or the Spanish golden age of art and culture.

This convent of cloistered nuns was founded shortly after the middle of the 16th century by Giovanna of Austria, the daughter of Emperor Charles V, which is why it has always been preferred by the royal family and has welcomed the daughters of important aristocratic families for centuries. When these girls would take their vows, they would leave the monastery generous donations, land holdings, and artwork as "dowry".

You should know that the palace was not intentionally built here and is actually much older, as the underground findings revealed, and only became part of the court's property in the 1500s. Giovanna, the future founder of the monastery, was born right here.

If you look at the church's exterior, you'll note that it is quite sober; it's no coincidence that its architect was also one of the Escorial's designers. Among the decorations and beautiful 16th and 17th century sculptures inside, you can also see the white marble tomb of the founder Giovanna of Habsburg that was created by Pompeo Leoni. The cloister with its portico and loggia was originally the monastery's courtyard, which kind of makes you consider the entire complex as more of a civilian one than a religious community.

The Capitol Hall, some of the monastery's cells, and the lavish Hall of the Kings host the Museum, which is a treasure of art that amply demonstrates the building's richness and the aristocratic origin of many nuns: reliquaries, furniture, large tapestries, sculptures, and paintings by the great artists of the 1500s and 1600s, including Titian and Zurbarán. You should also look at the refined Baroque chapel with its frescoes and sculptures.


FUN FACT: if you're in Madrid during the week of Easter, don't miss the Good Friday procession in this cloister, which is among the most famous of Spain.


And with this we have finished our tour of the Descalzas Reales Monastery in Madrid. MyWoWo thanks you for staying with us, and will see you at the next Wonder of the World!



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