In Madrid, very close to each other, we have two Royal Monasteries whose visit is almost mandatory if you go to Madrid.
These are the Descalzas Reales Monastery, built in the 16th century and inhabited by Franciscan nuns, and the Encarnación Monastery, built in the 17th century and inhabited by Augustinian nuns.
You can combine both visits with other places to visit in the area and also benefit from the joint ticket to see both monasteries.
Visit the Monastery of the Descalzas Reales
In the place where we find this monastery was the palace where the first Courts of Madrid were held in 1339.
Carlos I and Isabel of Portugal also resided there.
In addition, Juana de Austria, founder of the Descalzas Reales Monastery in 1559, was born here.
Maria de Austria also lived in the Descalzas Reales monastery, whose remains can be found in the choir of the church.
But the most important thing about the building are the works of art that it houses thanks to the donations that the nuns made and that had belonged to royalty and high society. Although these works were in danger in the Civil War, they could be saved so that we can admire them today.
The building itself is also a work of art and in it we must highlight the church, whose works were completed 5 years after the inauguration of the monastery.
In it you have to admire the main altarpiece, the paintings of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Sebastian, the statue of Princess Juana and especially the paintings on the vault.
It must be said that in 1862 there was a fire that destroyed the original altarpiece and therefore the one we can see today is a reconstruction.
It is also important to visit the cloister where for years the great work of Fra Angélico, The Annunciation, was kept, and which we can see today in the Prado Museum.
The cloister is also famous for the processions that are held in it during Holy Week. The Chapel of the Miracle and the mural paintings on the main staircase are not to be missed either.
What to see in the Monastery of the Incarnation
Queen Margarita was the promoter of the creation of this monastery after getting the Augustinian nuns from Valladolid to move to Madrid.
However, the inauguration of the monastery took place 5 years after the death of the queen and that is why it was inaugurated with a party in her honor.
Before dying, the queen made important donations to the convent, such as the bed in which Felipe IV was born.
The most important thing to see in the Monastery of the Incarnation are the paintings and sculptures from the 17th and 18th centuries that are inside, as well as the reliquary where there are 700 pieces of bronze, ivory, coral or wood from Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy.
Its church also deserves special attention, remodeled by Ventura Rodríguez in 1761 and which also has important works of art.
You can find more information on the National Heritage page.