Monasteries and Convents

Monasteries, churches, stately homes and grand town squares for which, time, seemingly, has stood still. This is what we find in Santiago – a city chiseled from durable granite – a building material whose presence we see with practically every step we take. The San Martín Pinario Monastery is a fine example. Spanning 20,000 square metres, it is one of medieval Compostela’s most important monasteries. In its interior church, behind a beautiful, Plateresque facade, lies an altarpiece that is one of the best examples of the local baroque style, with the Coronation and beautiful representations of the Sun and the Moon, as well as choir stalls that one can access to contemplate, at just a few metres’ distance, the elaborate textiles and cloths of the Prophets. Another unexpected surprise of this charming city is a convent that has been transformed into a museum. This is none other than the Santo Domingo de Bonaval which today houses the Galician Town Museum. Access to the museum is gained via an exquisite staircase decorated with sea shells that appear to be suspended in mid-air ... Audiovisual displays, models and photographs give us a deeper understanding of the history and Celtic character of Galicia. We simply cannot leave without visiting a few of the tombs in which lie illustrious Galicians such as poet, Rosalía de Castro and sculptor, Francisco Asorey. At just a few metres from the museum, the Bonaval Park invites us to retreat into its salubrious, peaceful surrounds which curiously, lie above the Santo Domingo convent cemetery … There is also a distinct, almond sweet aroma in Galicia and part of that is emitted from San Paio de Entrealtares Convent – originally founded by Alfonso XI. To this day, the building is home to 30 nuns who produce some of the most exquisite sweets, including the renowned Santiago Tart.

Galicia is a place of magic and mystery – the spirit of which can be palpably felt at the Pazo de San Lorenzo, which for many years was a Franciscan monastery. Today, its singular beauty salutes us with its glorious boxwood hedge rows and its four centuries of history. Camellias, magnolias and up to 100 other species of flower embrace the visitor at this spot of unsurpassable beauty.