MONESTIR DE POBLET
the Monestir de Santes Creus, the Monestir de Poblet was founded in the mid-twelfth
century (1151, to be exact),
as a Cistercian monastery, by the Kings of Aragon. In the thirteenth century it became the royal monastery for the kingdom,
and all kings of Aragon were buried here, until the union with Castile that formed Spain. It was also closed in 1835,
but refounded by the Cistercians in 1940, so it is still an active monastery today.
A chapel near the gatehouse (above left) and the main gateway (above right).
Because it was the royal monastery and often visited by the monarchs, it was surrounded with fortifications.
Like all monasteries,
the Monestir de Poblet had a cloister that gave access to the buildings around
Like many monasteries in Catalonia, a huge fountain (in the photo below left) was situated within the cloister,
next to the entrance to the refectory (dining hall), so that the monks could wash up before going in to eat their meals.
Beautiful Gothic arches . . .
. . . and other interesting details are found throughout the monastery.
This was an odd handrail to a set of stairs: a dragon with a long body and tail!
The Cistercian monks pride themselves on their simplicity--that can be seen in the church, with little ornamentation.
But the kings and
queens of Aragon who were buried here did not share that same sense of simplicity!
(These are modern replicas of the medieval tombs, that had been damaged over the centuries.)
It was a beautiful and tranquil place.
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