Dominican Nuns in Salamanca
The Convent of Las Dueñas stands across the 'Plaza of the Council of Trent' from the Dominican Priory of San Esteban in Salamanca. Since 1419, Dominican nuns (above, in a painting from this convent) have lived on this site opposite the friars. The photo below shows the facade of their convent, as seen from San Esteban:
On our third day in Salamanca we decided to visit the cloister of the nuns' convent which is open to the general public and reputed to be the finest cloister in Salamanca. This cloister, begun in 1533, is a jewel of the Spanish Renaissance architectural style and has a rather unusual pentagonal shape. In this photos below, taken from the upper gallery, you can just about make out the bends in the cloister and also the Moorish archway (now bricked up) in the lower cloister that is a feature from a previous building on the site:
From the cloister, one also has a stunning view of the East end of Salamanca Cathedral (below), which rises above the city like a vision of the heavenly Jerusalem:
The peace and beauty of these cloisters made me think of the Dominican nuns of MonialesOP and I knew they would appreciate such a place of stillness and contemplation!
The capitals on the columns of the cloister were very imaginatively carved and each one had the most extraordinary features and seemed to come from a medieval Bestiary:
I was moved and surprised to discover that in this convent there lived a Dominican nun (below) who was originally an African princess who had been captured and shipped to Spain as a slave (!) where she later earned her freedom, joined this convent and is now a Dominican beatus... Truly where sin abounds, grace abounds still more! And walking in the tranquility of these cloisters, it seemed to me that this was a grace-filled place.
Still to come: Salamanca Cathedrals, the House of Shells and the Dominican Shrine of Our Lady of La Peña.