Sol

Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales

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3 Plaza de las Descalzas Reales,
Madrid,

Spain,
28013.

This collection of fantastic, if occasionally brutally themed, religious art, including pieces by Peter Paul Rubens, is in an appropriately creaky and forbidding 16th-century working convent smack in the heart of Madrid’s central district. The art can be viewed only on a tour (5 euros, about $6.50), and Madrileños and tourists alike line up several times a day for the privilege. The pièce de résistance is the tapestry room, a hushed and softly lit space with massive handwoven tapestries displaying biblical scenes in lurid color. Unfortunately, it’s all too brief on the tour and individual wanderings are a strict no-no. Tours are in Spanish, but well worth it even if you don’t speak the language.