Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes

sights / Religious

Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes information

Toledo , Spain
Address
Street Calle San Juan de los Reyes 2
Prices
admission €2.50
Opening hours
10am-6.30pm Jun-Sep, to 5.30pm Oct-May
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Lonely Planet review

This imposing 15th-century Franciscan monastery and church was provocatively founded in the heart of the Jewish quarter by the Catholic monarchs Isabel and Fernando to demonstrate the supremacy of their faith. The rulers had planned to be buried here but eventually ended up in their prize conquest, Granada. The highlight is the amazing two-level cloister, a harmonious fusion of late ('flamboyant') Gothic downstairs and Mudéjar architecture upstairs, with superb statuary, arches, vaulting, elaborate pinnacles and gargoyles surrounding a lush garden with orange trees and roses.

The adjacent church has a series of enormous coats of arms of the Catholic monarchs, who were never shy about self-publicising. Outside, note the chains dangling from the northeastern facade – they once belonged to Christian prisoners liberated from Muslim Granada.