A bit outside of the city centre of Valencia you’ll find the monastery of San Miguel de los Reyes. This impressive, big building is recommended to visit when you are in Valencia. Read more about the history of this monastery.
History of the monastery
The San Miguel de los Reyes monastery is one of the best examples of monuments with a Renaissance style. The monastery was founded in the sixteenth century by the Duke of Calabria, Fernando de Aragón. This founding is due to his wife, Doña Germana de Foix, because she wanted them to be buried there after their death. However, Doña Germana died in 1538, but because of war and its destruction the state of the monastery was too bad to bury her there. Finally, Doña Germana was buried in another Valencian monastery.
Doña Germana was born in 1488 in Foix, a town in the south of France. She was the daughter of Juan de Foix, who was the landgrave of Etampes (town in France, nearby Paris) and of María de Orleans, the sister of King Louis Xll of France.
Doña Germana has had a pretty eventful life. She married in 1505 at the age of eighteen to Kin Ferdinand ll of Aragon. He was 53 years old and he died in 1516. Three years later, in 1519, she married Juan de Brandenburgo-Ansbach. Unfortunately, also Juan died a few years later (in 1524). Then Doña Germana married Fernando de Aragón in 1526, the Duke of Calabria.
After three men in her life, Doña Germana died at 18 March 1538 at the age of 49 in the town Liria, province Valencia.
Architecture of the building
The design of the monastery consisted of a Royal pantheon, a monastery, a university and a church. The building of the monastery has never been completed, because of events like wars that destroyed parts of the building. The architects of the monastery were Alonso de Covarrubias and Juan de Vidaña. After the death of Duke Fernando de Aragón in 1550, the building of the monastery was shut down for twenty years. The building was resumed in 1570 and inspired by ‘El Escorial’.
Besides influences from the Valencian Renaissance, you can see influences from ‘El Escorial’. ‘El Escorial’ is a huge monastery complex in Madrid that’s 40 kilometres long. You see the sober style of this complex back in the San Miguel de los Reyes Monastery. The monastery has two very long hallways, which are decorated with pillars.
When Valencia was confiscated the monastery was almost sold and they wanted to destroy the whole monastery. Fortunately, the government could stop these plans.
Functions of the monastery
The building has been more than only a monastery. In 1856 it was a retirement home and from 1859 until more or less 1950 it was a jail. In the 70’s and 80’s it was a public school, Reina Doña Germana (named after the Duke’s wife). Then there was a long time that the monastery was restored. An end came to this on April 23, 1999 and ever since the monastery is the Valencian library. The building still has a Renaissance style, but with a modern touch. The moment is located a bit outside the city centre of Valencia and a bit behind the Estadi Ciutat de València (soccer stadium).
Visit the monastery
Avinguda de la Constitució 284
Monday to Friday: 9.00-20.30