San Esteban Convent

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Joel Fulleda

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The cloister of the kings

Little frequented in winter, it is nevertheless advisable to come and discover it during off-peak hours (early in the morning or at mealtime, around 13:00 p.m. – 14:00 p.m.) in order to enjoy intense moments of plenitude and tranquility provided by this ideal place. to contemplation and meditation. The slender Renaissance-style columns supporting the arches allow sunlight to filter through under the warheads. Mirrors are placed here and there and allow you to contemplate for a long time the span work of the elegant vaults.

The Pantheon of Theologians is a small room located on the opposite side of the courtyard from the entrance to the cloister. It now houses the tomb of famous Dominican theologians from the University of Salamanca, but it was once the place of discussions that had an impact on the current constellation of the world... Let yourself be immersed in the sound and the documentary commentary (in Spanish only) that is played there. You will thus find yourself projected hundreds of years back and you will imagine yourself discussing the nature and the rights of the natives (the “Indians”) discovered by the expeditions of Christoffel Coulomb. On this subject, I can only recommend the reading of "the Controversy of Valladolid" (Jean-Clade Carrière). The Dominican Bartolomé de Las Casas (faithful to the precepts of his order), there defends the rights and humanity of the Indians against the philosopher Sépulveda, who on the contrary overwhelms them and seeks to demonstrate their servile nature. These characters existed and similar debates took place in this same hall of the San Esteban convent! A real time machine, I tell you!

The upper cloister

Before going upstairs, stop for a moment in the sacristy, of more recent construction, but just as impressive in size. Finally, take the exceptional staircase of Soto, symbolizing access to knowledge and Truth, a veritable leitmotif of the Dominicans and the basis of some of their liturgies. The scattered loudspeakers also create a striking effect when climbing these monumental steps.

From the aerial promenade, you can reach the choir of the church and enjoy a wonderful view of the whole of it.

Useful information

prices: normal – 4 €

reduced (including students) – 2€

Jean-Baptiste Gibily

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