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Granada, Spain has plenty of beautiful architecture & history. In addition to La Alhambra, other historical sites dot the city. One highlight is the San Jerónimo Monastery (Real Monasterio de San Jerónimo).
Monasterio de San Jerónimo is located in the northern part of central Granada, near the train station. Public transportation is available, but it’s also walkable from the rest of the city center. The monastery is also along the hop-on, hop-off train, and it’s part of some Granada city tours.
Entry to the San Jerónimo Monastery (full name: Real Monasterio de la Concepción de Nuestra Señora de Granada) is 5 euros. That does not include an audio guide, though you can purchase a paper guide for 1 euro. Compared to the nearby Carthusian Monastery, there’s less information provided via guides & signs. Unlike the Carthusian Monastery, San Jerónimo Monastery is more actively used for services & is currently home to Hieronymite nuns, therefore some areas are closed to the public.
Granada’s San Jerónimo Monastery was built for the Order of St. Jerome (Hieronymites) by Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. The Order had started in 1492 in nearby Santa Fe. This made it the first monastery to start following the Catholic conquering of Granada. Construction of the Granada Monastery started in 1504 on land that is believed to have belonged to Boabdil, the last Nasrid ruler. Construction took decades, with architect Diego de Siloé (who also worked on the Granada Cathedral) being most famously associated with it. The church was the first church in the world to be consecrated to the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
Thanks to the entrance being off the main road, visitors first proceed through the compass, allowing for a nice transition from the city to the historic grounds.
The property has undergone many changes through the centuries. First started in the Gothic style, architects such as Diego de Siloé then turned the monastery into one of the best examples of Spanish Renaissance architecture. For 300 years, the Hieronymite monks called San Jerónimo Monastery their home, but then they were forced out by the French during the Napoleonic Era. At one point the complex lay in ruins. Full restoration has taken place in various stages over the past century or so to bring it to its current beautiful state.
For example, the church tower is not the original. As with many parts of the complex, the original tower was destroyed by Napoleon’s troops during the 1800s & was not rebuilt until the 1980s.
Without an audio guide, there’s no set path for a visit. There aren’t too many visitors, so it’s a quiet place to wander around.
My visit started with some smaller halls & chapels. These rooms have tiled floors & simple, tasteful decor.
The buildings surround two cloisters. Lush greenery fills the cloisters, including orange trees.
The church itself is on the smaller side, but it’s topped with a disproportionately tall dome. It’s an impressive construction, filled with interesting details.
The altarpiece done by Pablo de Rojas is the highlight of the church. It really is a stunning work, filled with statues and covered in gold. Restoration on the altar took place in 2004 & 2005, returning it to the elegance on display today.
It doesn’t take long to walk through the San Jerónimo Monastery in Granada, but it’s another fine example of the city’s beautiful architecture that’s worth checking out.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Granada, check out these Granada hotels.