Complete Tourist Guide to Soria



Carmen Convent in Soria

The Convento de Carmem is a monastic complex that was founded by Saint Teresa of Avila herself in 1581. It is a place of great historical and spiritual significance, as it was here that Saint Teresa wrote part of her work “The Way of Perfection” and also spiritually married Jesus Christ in a mysterious ceremony, which she talks about in her “Life”. The Convento de Carmem consists of three parts: the church, the nuns’ convent, and the monks’ convent.

The church is a Baroque building from the 17th century, designed by Alonso de San José. It has a single nave with side chapels and a transept, on which a dome with a lantern rises. The interior is richly decorated with stuccoes, paintings, and sculptures, the most important of which are the main altar with a painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the work of Juan de Baltanás, and a side altar with a painting of Saint Teresa, by Francisco Rizi. The church also houses a reliquary with a finger of Saint Teresa, which is displayed for public worship every year on October 15, on her memorial day.

The nuns’ convent is part of the original foundation of Saint Teresa, who used the palace of Beatriz de Beaumont, the widow of a wealthy merchant Juan de Vinuesa, as a residence for her sisters. The convent has preserved many elements from the 16th century, such as cloisters, a refectory, a kitchen, and a cell where Saint Teresa lived. In the convent, you can admire many mementos related to the life and work of Saint Teresa, such as her manuscripts, portraits, utensils, furniture, and clothes. The convent is closed to visitors, but it can be visited through a guide, who guides through the museum and the church.

The monks’ convent is a later addition to the monastic complex, built in the 17th century, to provide spiritual and material care to the nuns. The convent has a simple facade with three arcades and the coat of arms of the order. Inside, there is a cloister with arcades and frescoes depicting scenes from the life of Saint Teresa and other Carmelite saints. The convent also houses a library with valuable books and manuscripts, as well as a chapel with a painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the work of Francisco Bayeu. The convent is open to visitors every day in the morning and afternoon hours, and admission is free.

The Convento de Carmem is not only an artistic monument but also a witness to history and faith. Here, you can feel the presence of Saint Teresa and her spirit of reform of the Carmelite order. Here, you can also admire the beauty of Baroque architecture and art, which reflects the spirituality and culture of the 17th century. It is certainly one of the places worth visiting to get to know Soria and its heritage better.

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