Royal Treasures. Masterpieces from the Terra Sancta Museum

Royal Treasures. Masterpieces from the Terra Sancta Museum is an international exhibition that displays in Santiago de Compostela the extraordinary and little-known artistic treasures from the Terra Sancta Museum in Jerusalem. These treasures comprise donations from European Catholic monarchies spanning 500 years. This si the first and only time that these pieces from Jerusalem will be seen in Spain, exhibited at Gaiás between 22 March and 4 August 2024.

Over half a millennium, European royal houses donated material and financial resources, as well as sumptuous pieces of sacred art, to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. This location holds deep spiritual symbolism and is an important center projecting the devotion and power of Catholic kings and princes.

Central to these donations, the exhibition showcases a part of this artistic treasure. It includes valuable religious objects made of precious metals and gemstones, chalices, jewelry, codices, ornamental pieces, rare sacred vestments, unique items of incalculable value that were safeguarded for over 800 years since the arrival of the Franciscans in Palestine, yet seldom seen by the general public. The exhibit also allows a journey through the history of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre and the role of the Custody of the Holy Land, the community of Franciscan friars from the Order of St. Francis who consider themselves guardians of this unique archaeological, artistic, and liturgical heritage.

During its stay in Galicia, the exhibition also features archaeological, pictorial, and other unique works from Galician institutions such as the Convent of San Francisco in Compostela and the Museum of Pilgrimages and Santiago, as well as from institutions outside Galicia like the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. The project thus approach the nexus that links major pilgrimage cities such as Jerusalem and Santiago de Compostela.

Gifts from Kings, created for the eyes of God 

Royal Treasures. Masterpieces from the Terra Sancta Museum showcases at the Gaiás Centre Museum a little-known artistic heritage, which has been exhibited to the general public on very few occasions until now. This artistic ensemble was displayed at the Palace of Versailles in 2013 and at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon between November 2023 and February 2024. After its stop in Compostela, the exhibition will travel to two other international destinations yet to be announced, in Europe and the United States. Subsequently, these works will form the core of the historical collection of the Terra Sancta Museum, which plans to open its doors to the public in the old city of Jerusalem.


Established in 1956, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is considered one of the reference cultural institutions in Portugal and one of the most dynamic in Europe. The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum is the flagship of the Foundation, housing a collection of six thousand pieces of Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Mesopotamian, Islamic, Armenian, and Oriental art.

The Custodia Terae Santae is the name given to the province of the Franciscan Order responsible for the administration of Christian sites in Jerusalem, receiving pilgrims, and serve the local Christian communities. The Terra Sancta Museum project was born of the desire to give greater visibility to the history of the Christian presence in the Holy Land. It is also intended as a meeting place for dialogue between different religions. The Terra Sancta Museum consists of two museums located in Jerusalem's Old City. The first already exhibits archaeological collections in the Convent of the Flagellation. The second, dedicated to art and history, will exhibit the Treasure of the Holy Sepulchre and collections of Eastern Christian art in the Saint-Saviour convent.


INTERNATIONAL CURATORS [scientific curators]

Jacques Charles-Gaffiot | Art historian, author, and member of the Scientific Committee of the Terra Sancta Museum. Member of the board of the artistic action City of Paris, the Union of Critics of Paris, the Association of the Historic House, and the Society of Friends of Versailles. He is also a founding member of the Observatory of Religious Heritage and vice president of the association Cercle du Patrimoine.

André das Neves Afonso| Curator of the Goldsmithing and Jewelry Collections at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon since November 2021. He had previously served as an Assistant Curator of the same collections at the National Museum of Ancient Art (also in Lisbon), an institution he had been part of since 2010. His professional and research career focuses on the study of goldsmithing, metals, and historical reproductions of works of art.

LOCAL CURATORS [executive curators]

Esperanza Gigirey Liste | Director of the Museum of Pilgrimages and Santiago since 2018. She is also the president of the Galician Council of Museums and a member of the Advisory Council of the Museum of Sacred Art of San Paio de Antealtares. She holds a degree in Geography and History from the University of Santiago de Compostela, specializing in art history, contemporary art, and museology. She was also a senior technician at the Terra Sancta Museum at the Convent of San Francisco de Santiago de Compostela between 1998 and 2003.

Juan Manuel Buján | Provincial Minister of the Franciscan Order in Santiago de Compostela. He holds a degree in Geography and History from the University of Salamanca and degrees in Theology and Religious Sciences from the Pontifical University of Salamanca. He is also the director and teacher at the Franciscan Plurilingual School of Lugo, director of the magazine Liceo Franciscano, president of Catholic Schools in Galicia, and author of several publications about the Franciscans in Galicia.

5 Dec 2023 - 19 May 2024
July 2024 — January 2025
Tuesday to Sunday | 10 a.m. — 8 p.m.