Poblet Monastery, a Cistercian abbey in Catalonia

We do love monasteries. We love to get lost among their stones, to walk through the cloister, to sit in the church and to imagine the lifes of those monks or nuns that used to live therein some centuries ago. Sometimes we don’t need to go much far to visit impressive monasteries.

We have already posted in this blog about Montserrat, a true symbol of Catalonia which is still in use today. And we have also written about Siurana, one of the most beautiful villages in Catalonia, located in the Tarragona province. Well, we visited Siurana from a hotel that was placed next to one of the must-see monuments in Catalonia: the Poblet Monastery, a World Heritage site since 1991. Do you want to know what you can find if you just drive 1 hour and 30 minutes from Barcelona? Keep reading!

DSC_0473
Views from the second floor of the cloister. Have a look at the Gothic dome!

We visited Poblet when travelling to the Priorat region and, althought Poblet is not located in the Priorat itself, but in the county of Conca de Barberà, the truth is that the monks had always had a great winegrowing tradition. As you will easily see in the surroundings of the building, this tradition has been kept until today. And inside the Monastery, there is a lot to see. The magnificence of the abbey and the history behind it really impressed us during the guided tour that we took.

DSC_0444
Pavilion in the cloister that served as a washbasin

The Poblet Monastery, which is considered one of the largest and most complete Cistercian abbeys in the world, was founded on 1150. Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona, gave that land to the Abbey of Fontfroide (located near Narbonne, in the south of France) after the conquest of Lleida from the Moorish, so that the monks could build a Cistercian monastery there. The reasons for that contribution? To create a Christian spiritual centre in the gained territory and to cultivate the abandoned fields. Twelve monks arrived to Poblet to comply with that commission. The community later growed thanks to several donations and in the XIV century its power was huge.

DSC_0478
Alabaster altarpiece from the XVI century by Damià Forment

If we had to choose one place in the Monastery where you can feel the history of Catalonia, this place is the royal tomb that can be found in both sides of the altarpiece and that was restored by Frederic Marès in the middle of the XX century. Among other royals, here lay the remains of Jaume I The Conqueror, who lived in the XIII century and decided to be buried in the Poblet Monastery. Its name is due to that fact that he leaded the conquest of the Balearic Islands and Valencia from the Moorish. When the Monastery was sacked in the middle of the XIX century, the remains of Jaume I were moved to the Cathedral of Tarragona, but they were returned to Poblet on 1952.

DSC_0458
Royal tomb

As we were saying, the Poblet Monastery is quite close to Barcelona so you can easiliy arrive there if you decide to go on a roadtrip through Catalonia. You can find useful information for visitors here. Note that, together with the monasteries of Santa Maria de Vallbona and Santa Maria de Santes Creus, the Poblet Monastery is part of the “Ruta del Cister” (Cister Route). In fact, Santa Maria de Poblet is the biggest one of those three monasteries and the only one that still has a community of monks living there. If you have the chance to visit the area, try to get to the other two monasteries to complete your tour. We have visited Santes Creus and we can ensure that it is a fantastic place too!

DSC_0476
Monks slept all together in this amazing dorm.

Two Traveling Texans

 

10 thoughts on “Poblet Monastery, a Cistercian abbey in Catalonia”

    1. In our opinion this monastery is a must-see for travellers that want to discover Catalonia apart from Barcelona. However it is not as touristy as it should be… The dorm is quite impressive! Thanks for your comment!

      Like

  1. Catalonia looks like a beautiful, amazing place. My heart is broken by all the reports of police brutality coming out of it in recent days (not to mention all the awful things happening elsewhere in the world). Hope you guys are okay!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Michelle. Thanks for your words. We are an oppressed nation and we defended with our bodies the boxes and ballots. Our grandmas and grandpas were hit by police directly on their heads. We still see those images when we close our eyes. These days are being very difficult for us, we just want to be heard. Now the world has seen what Spain is, which we already know for years. Reading messages like this from you gives us strength in these difficult moments.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not heard about this place before. I guess the province of Tarragona is a bit more undiscovered. I would be great to road trip Catalonia. #wanderfulwednesday

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s