Iglesia y Convento de Santa Clara La Real

sights / Religious

Lonely Planet review

Founded in 1571, the Iglesia y Convento de Santa Clara La Real is thought to be the first convent in Nueva Granada. In 1863 the nuns were expelled and the convent was used for various purposes, including serving as a hospital. The church, however, continued to provide religious services. The single-naved church interior shelters a wealth of colonial artwork on its walls, most of which comes from the 16th to 18th centuries. Note the golden sun on the ceiling, a Spanish trick to help the indígenas convert to Catholicism (the sun was the principal god of the Muisca people). Next to the choir is the cell where Madre Francisca Josefa, a mystic nun looked upon as Colombia's St Teresa, lived for 53 years (1689–1742).