Church and Monastery of San Benito "El Real" - Church and Monastery of San Benito "El Real"
Church and Monastery of San Benito "El Real"
The Church and Monastery of San Benito el Real (Saint Benedict) was built on the site of the old Alcazarejo by the mediaeval city walls (whose remains are still visible today), as a gift by Juan I in 1390 to the Benedictine Order. The façade of the Church is outstanding for its tower-like porch, a work by Gil de Hontañon (1569-1572) with its octagonal columns and two floors. The top floors (demolished in the 19th century) and the monastery (end of 16th century), that held the hospice and various cloisters, were works by Juan del Ribero Rada. The works did not finish until 1747. One of the courtyards, the Patio Herreriano -restored by the architects Juan Carlos Arnuncio, Clara Aizpún and Javier Blanco- houses the Contemporary Art Museum since 2003, and the rest of the building houses various municipal offices. Of all the treasures of this church, we can highlight the stonework and altarpiece of San Benito by Alonso Berruguete that is now kept in the National Museum of Saint Gregory's College. After the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal, the monastery was used as barracks until 1965. The church, currently administered by the Carmelite Fathers, keeps the magnificent grille of the 16th century as an evidence of its ancient splendour.