9th-18th c. Baroque
It was founded in the 11th century by Alfonso II with twelve Benedictine monks in order to look after and render worship to the recently discovered tomb of the Apostle James. The present-day construction belongs almost entirely to the 17th and 18th centuries, since the original one was demolished.
One of the sidewalls closes one side of Plaza de la Quintana, with an absolutely sober design based on unadorned walls. In the centre of this wall, a stone plaque commemorates the formation of the Literary Battalion, organized by Compostela's university students in order to defend Galicia against Napoleon's troops.
At the façade opposite Plaza de la Quintana, we can see the main doorway and, at an angle, the so-called 'Puerta de los Carros' (Door of the Carriages).
After the Benedictine monks left in 1499, the monastery was occupied by cloistered nuns. The convent was dedicated to St. Palayo, who was martyred as a child in Cordoba. An image of his death dominates the church façade.
The church, which has a Greek-cross ground plan, was designed by Fray Gabriel de Casas. The altarpiece of the high altar stands out inside.
We can go through the church to enter the Museum of Sacred Art, which houses the original altar that accompanied the apostolic sarcophagus and which was given to the convent by Xelmírez, who replaced it with a more magnificent one inside the Cathedral.