Royal Monastery of Santa Isabel


The Royal Monastery of Santa Isabel is located at Calle Santa Isabel, 48. In 1589 the Augustinian friar Alonso de Orozco started a convent of Augustinian nuns on Calle del Principe, on land donated by the rich woman Prudencia Grillo. At the start there were four nuns. In 1610 Queen Margarita de Austria, the wife of Felipe III, had the convent transferred to its present site, where there was a building belonging to Antonio Perez. The king and his wife had the architect Francisco de Mora change the old building to a convent. The work finished in 1665 under the supervision of other architects. However in 1701 there was a large fire that devastated the church. The church was rebuilt and finished in 1766. In 1936 at the start of the Civil War, the church was put on fire and had to be rebuilt after the war in 1946. In 1964 there was another restoration.


The exterior of the monastery shows a large building with a plain façade. There are three doors, with the middle door being the largest. There is a royal coat of arms on top of the middle door. The ground plan follows the Latin Cross, with only one nave with two short sections and a large octagonal crossing. The church is adorned with Tuscan pilasters. There is a very large cupola with a lantern that allows much light to enter the church. Under the choir are two paintings by Antonio Arias, one that represents San Pablo Ermitaño with San Antonio Abad, and the other shows San Agustin with his mother Santa Monica. The main altar is made of wood and polychromed in the 17th century, and this comes from the Cathedral of Pamplona, installed in the church after the last restoration. The crossing has two retables that are decorated with paintings, one of the Arcangel San Jeudiel by Vicente Carducho, and another of the Inmaculada by Mariano Salvador Maella. There are other paintings by Antonio Pereda and Jose Antolinez that decorate the church. The monastery was declared a Spanish Property of Cultural Interest in 1995.