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Visit the temporary exhibitions helded in our Museum

es escaleiras The founding of the old convent of Bonaval is attributed to Santo Domingo de Guzman, who, according to tradition, made a pilgrimage to Santiago in 1219. It lies outside the city wall, at the foot of Mount Almáciga and quite near the Porta do Camino (The Pilgrim Gate), thus providing the pilgrims of the Camino Francés with easy access to the Basilica of the Apostle.


However, the outward appearance of the convent, as it has come down to us, corresponds to the episcopate of Fray Antonio de Monroy, Archbishop of Santiago between 1685 and 1715, and is the work of Domingo de Andrade. The façade is composed of two large Tuscan pillars decorated with strings of fruit characteristic of the architect, which support a curved split pediment and the great door frame lintel, presided over by the founder's image. Above is the coat of arms of the House of Altamira with the royal crown.

Inside the building, at the northwest corner, is the triple helical staircase which, for its technical and structural audacity is a good example of the virtuosity of Andrade and well worthy of our admiration. Within the same space are three separate ramps leading to the different floors. This staircase is considered by locals and visitors alike as one of the unique elements of the architectural heritage of Compostela .



Escaleiras do Museo

When the law of secularization of religious orders was promulgated, the convent passed into the hands of the city council . The Royal Decree of 1836 of the Queen Regent stipulated that " the buildings which were monasteries and convents in this Court are now to be dedicated to the benefit of the people". Bonaval was to become " the regimental barracks of Santiago de Compostela, and the church to be demolished ". Fortunately, this ruling was never executed. In 1841 the council converted the convent into a hospice, which until 1945 still occupied the north wing. The south wing hosted a school for the deaf and blind. When these institutions were abolished , the building remained unused until 1963, when the council decided to use part of the premises as a Municipal Museum .

In 1977, at the request of the Board of the Museum of Galician People, the town council donated the building to the creation of the museum of the same name. In 1993, on the western edge of the site, which had remained vacant for decades, the Galician Centre of Contemporary Art ( Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea), designed and built by the Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza Vieira, was opened. The convent garden, in which the ruins of some outbuildings of the friars still stand, became a public park the following year.


San Domingos Church

Visit the temporary exhibitions helded in our Museum

The main body of the church dates from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and is the only example of Gothic Mendicant that has been preserved in Compostela. The original temple was modified over the centuries by numerous alterations and additions.

a igrexa no interior

The ground planhas three naves and a transept. Three polygonal apses form the head and the centre is slit by five narrow windows covered with fan vaulting . The transepts, chancel and two small side chapels have vaults. The false vaults of the central nave rest upon arches on tall pillars with simple capitals in the Romanesque tradition .

The main chapel, which gives access to a pointed arch decorated with vegetable motifs, has a skirting of tri-lobed arches and houses four tombs of the fifteenth century corresponding to the family members of the powerful house of Altamira .


The apsidal chapellto the left is dedicated to San Vicente Ferre : Santo Domingo presides over the eighteenth century altarpiece, replacing the missing image of San Vicente. The chapel of the epistle is dedicated to St. Thomas Aquinas and contains the Gothic image of the Virgin of Bonaval. The adjoining chapels of St. Peter Martyr and San Jacinto were built by Gaspar de Arce and signed in the keystone with the date of 1617. The square floor lies under a semicircular sunken coffered dome with richly decorated heraldic motifs . Facing this is the chapel of Santo Domingo in Suriano, built in 1657 on the original Rosary and retains an altarpiece of the XVIII. The present chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary, belonging to the confraternity of that name, was begun in 1635 on the site of the former cloister and cemetery by Bartolome Fernandez Lechuga and completed ten years later by Jacome Fernandez..


The facade of the church, is restrained with a triangular pediment supporting the coat of arms of Altamira and opens through a baroque gate that leads to the atrium and staircase leading up to the temple. On the front are three gothic figures : the Virgin with the Child Jesus flanked by St. Peter and St. Catherine . In the left corner of the church stands the tower of three parts: the first two are cubic, with cornices surmounted by balustrades and the last is octagonal with a dome crowned by a pinnacle with a ball and vane.

The Church of Bonaval houses the Pantheon of Illustrious Galicians and the tombs of Rosalia de Castro , Alfredo Brañas , Ramón Cabanillas , Francisco Asorey, Domingo Fontan and Alfonso R. Castelao .

interior da igrexa interior da igrexainterior da igrexa




Building description

Opening hours

Museum Opening Hours

From Tuesday to Saturday:
11:00 -18:00 hours

Sundays and holidays
11 - 14 hours


December 24 and 31, January 5: 11 - 14 hours

Annual closure:
January 1(New Year) and
December 25 (Christmas)


Museum prices

Ordinary ticket:
4 euros

Reduced rate:
1,50 euro (over 65, students over 18)

Free entrance:
Museum Members (companion 3 euros), students under 18 and unemployed

Groups of 6 or more:
3 euros per person

Temporary Exhibition visits:

Free Entrance:
May 18 (Museum Day)
July 25
October 29 (MPG annivers)


Where we are

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C/ San Domingos de Bonaval,
15703, Santiago de Compostela.
tel. 981-583620 / fax 981-554840


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máis información das visitas guiadas

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Xunta de galicia, Consellería de Cultura e Deporte

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