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"The Convent of Las Descalzas Reales" means the Covent of the Royal Discalced Nuns. It is located on the site of the mansion where King Charles I lived with his wife Isabel. Their daughter Juana was born in the mansion in 1535.
After the death of her husband, Juana turned the building into a convent in 1557, naming it "Poor Clares." Juana is actually buried in the building. Her tomb is located in one of the mansions chapels. Pomeyo Leoni created a sculpture of Juana at prayer which resides outside her tomb.
Shortly after its creation, a large number of aristocratic girls came to the convent along with their dowry's which made the convent one of the richest in the world wigth regard to not only funds, but also paintings, metals, and religious relics.
The convent opened as a museum in 1960 and it showcases some of the dowry items left behind by the nuns. Some of the notable items in the museum include pieces of wood that are said to be from the true cross, Titan's Caesar's money, and some of St. Sebastian's bones. Most of the convent remains preserved as it was during the life of Juana, including the beautiful main staircase, the Chapel of the Miracle, and the buildings 17th century frescos.
The convent is mainly a museum now but a small number of nuns still reside there. Admission to the museum is usually around five Euros for adults and three Euros for children. A guided tour is available for visitors in Spanish only.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|