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Santa Clara convent

Santa Clara convent

This architectural ensemble was originally a beguinage founded in the 11th century, later becoming a convent in the 14th century (1366).

The complex was almost completely destroyed by a fire in the 16th century (1544). In the latter half of the 16th century a chapel under the patronage of St. Paul was founded and by the 17th and 18th centuries, the surrounding community generated a lot of income (23 houses, 7 caseríos, groves, mills, meadows...).

In 1809, during the Independence War, the complex was seriously damaged and lost a great part of its archive after being occupied by Napoleon's troops. Between 1810 and 1812 the building was a military hospital and later a lodging for ill travellers. In 1855, the convent was almost dismantled through a Royal Order.

Nowadays, the convent consists of a building with a rectangular floor plan which preserves its original structure in its interior. The church has a single nave with a triumphal arch at the entrance to the chancel.

The central cloyster, from the 18th century, forms a square shape with semicircular arches on the first floor. The roof is of simple design. The third floor has two wings with open arches and a monastic kitchen from the 17th century.

Santa Clara convent

On the granite lintel at the entrance gate there is an inscription that says “Haec est domus paupertatis” (this is the house of poverty), a sentence which St. Clare ordered to be displayed at the entrance to her convents.

The most outstading part of the complex is its magnificent square base tower, with two semicircular arches, topped by a belfry.