One of central Madrid’s two royal monasteries, this 17th-century structure built by Queen Margaret of Austria has become a primary example of Spanish Baroque architecture and an important sacred site in Spain. It once operated as a convent for women mostly from royal families, and is decorated as such. The structure still belongs to the closed order of Recolet Augustines, but remains open to public by the Spanish government.
The monastery’s main chapel features frescoed ceilings painted by Francisco Bayeu, a cloister, and a main altar by Vincenzo Carducci. Various paintings and sculptures dot the interior. Many come to see what perhaps the royal monastery is best known for: its relic. a sacred orb said to contain the blood of Saint Pantaleon. It is believed to turn to liquid each year on July 26 on the eve of his feast day. Other relics housed in gold and silver are also on display.
The monastery lies between the Royal Palace and Plaza Espana, nearest to the Ópera metro station. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm and 4 pm to 6:30 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm with an admission fee of 6 euros. It is closed Mondays.