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4. Santa Clara

Here you’ll simply have to imagine what it’s like inside the Santa Clara Convent. The nuns who live there practice religious seclusion, meaning that the only part you can visit is the chapel.

Despite its ancient wooden structure, the building is in impeccable condition. Its long corridors house dozens of religious artifacts full of history: from giant books, to sculptures, figures and objects belonging to the Pope. It also has a delightful interior patio festooned with flowers and plants, as well as a large vegetable garden where the nuns grow their own produce.

The convent was built in 1666 for the Clarissa nuns, on order by the Lords of Iturriza. However, it was later used as a military hospital following occupation by the French troops during the War of the Convention, the War of Independence and the Carlist Wars. In fact, the remains of buried soldiers have been found in the area around the building. The Baroque church, however, was built between 1711 and 1730.

The chapel has excellent acoustics and many choirs ask to sing there during Tolosa’s prestigious International Choral Competition, held around 1 November every year.

Finally, note two curious external features. On the one hand, across from the convent, is the Prado Pequeño, or small field, where people would once gather every weekend for ‘dances’. Today a project is underway to restore the area for its social use.

Lastly, the road running alongside the convent leads up to the district of Izaskun, from where you can enjoy delightful panoramic views of Tolosa; from here you can also climb up to Mount Uzturre, topped by a cross that can be seen from most parts of town.

Make your way back over the bridge to the next stop: Idiakez Palace.