Convent of Santo Domingo el Antiguo

The convent was founded by Alfonso VI after the conquest of Toledo, being the first to be authorised within the city walls. The current Cistercian temple of Santo Domingo de Silos was erected in 1577, in a Renaissance mannerist style, with an initial design by Nicolás de Vergara, modified by Juan de Herrera. According to folklore, there was once a monastery here in the times of San Ildefonso.

The church has a latin cross base and contains only one nave, with a chapel located on the side of the epistle, which is connected to the very fine Chapter House by a grill. Right at the base of the grill that separates the present choir from the rest of the church, a glass trap door allows us to see the crypt where the probable remains of El Greco can be found. At the back of the choir, on the wall that separates the nuns choir, is the Renaissance style communion rail in the form of an altarpiece.

A small window allows the nuns in the cloister to take communion without being seen in the church. The work on the altars and its paintings was the responsibility of the Cretan painter and the reason why he was brought to Spain by the canon Diego del Castillo. Only three original paintings remain, those of the two Saint Johns at the main altar and the Resurrection before Saint Ildefonso, on the side altar.

The old choir and the ante choir make up a museum featuring several altarpieces, wood and stone sculptures, sepulchral slabs moved there for renovation reasons, gold and silver work and liturgical objects. Among the painters, we should mention Eugenio Cajés, Correa de Vivar and Sánchez Cotán.

At the back of the museum, the fine gothic sepulchre dating from the XIV Century by Juan Alfonso de Ajofrín can be admired. There are also many documents from the convent in its filing alcove along with the original contracts signed by El Greco.

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