If you’re visiting in summer, Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes is a heavenly refuge in Toledo from the searing heat outside. After walking for a long time, I finally found this monastery in the middle of a neighbourhood that used to be predominantly Jewish.
And as soon as I entered the premises, I felt better.
History. Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes (Monastery of Saint John of the Monarchs) was built by the monarchs, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand II. They built it to honour the birth of their son, Prince John and to celebrate their triumphant success of the Battle of Toro.
At the Jewish Quarter. Perhaps, to show dominance over the Jewish, the monarchs intended to build the monastery here. In fact, few steps from here, you’ll find the Sinagoga del Transito – which you must visit, too.
Architectural Style. Outside, it looks Gothic, obviously. But its interior is more of an Isabelline style. I honestly never heard of this style before until I came here. Obviously, I learned that Isabelline style is a place of worship that is shaped like a cross. It has an extended nave where chapel are placed on both sides under the high-domed arches.
The chains. Outside, in the northeastern facade, you’ll find dangling chains which were once owned by the prisoners who were liberated from Granada when the city was under Muslim rule.
Inside the Church. The high-vaulted ceilings with highly-ornate walls and columns are extremely staggering. Its enormous size made me feel so tiny, like I was inside a wonderful cave.
A small garden. You’re not allowed to go into the garden but you can admire it from the cloisters that surround it.
The cloisters. Oh dear, I’d really want you to walk here like a beauty queen. They’re amazing and very photogenic, too. In here, alone, I took 36 selfies in different angles. 😀
The ceilings. They’ve got designs for your inspiration. So, look up, dahlin’!
Decorations. It’s not just the interior that’s impressive. The outside is, too. Watch out for gargoyles and statuettes of saints.
When to visit Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes. I went there during lunch time and there were only very few people. I had the time of my life – exploring and looking at the details without the crowd.
Do you want to stay in Toledo for a night or two to experience what the city is like after the sunset? Stay at Hostal La Campana and Apartment Plaza De Las Fuentes – both are at the center of the city.