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Spain: Pedralbes monastery

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Pedralbes monastery | Spain | Europe

[Visited: February 2007]

Upon passing through the gate leading up to the monastery, it seems that you step back in time and into a quiet place, far from the outside world. In fact, a monastery was founded here in the 14th century - which became part of the city when Barcelona expanded in the 19th and 20th century. Founded by Jaime II and Queen Elisenda de Moncada, the monastery was home to the Clarisas, or the Poor Clares. It was called Pedras Albas or white stone - whence its name Pedralbes. The palace in which Elisenda lived, was destroyed according to her will after she died in 1367. During the Reaper's War around the mid-17th century, the nuns were expulsed and had to seek refuge somewhere else. Still now, some nuns live in the monastery.

Picture of Pedralbes monastery (Spain): Close-up of ancient book in the collection of Pedralbes monastery

Originally, the monastery was walled, of which little more than two towers and two gates remain today. Once you enter the cobble stone street leading up to the Pedralbes monastery, you are in a different world. I was early, and enjoyed a perfectly quiet half hour on the small square in front of the monastery. While I heard birds singing and saw the wintery sun rising over the surroudings, wondering how strange our winters have become, I realized that the city seemed very far from here. When the monastery opened its doors, I explored it at length.

Picture of Pedralbes monastery (Spain): Arches in the inner courtyard of the monastery

One part, originally used as the infirmary for the nuns, has been turned into a well-kept museum with explanations in three languages. Here you can find anything from paintings, beautiful old books with calligraphy and brilliantly decorated letters, furniture, chapels, and the old kitchen. While walking in these parts, on the background there was a heavenly singing, with an amazing acoustic. I tried to find the source, but apparently the room was somewhere I could not go. Yet, the singing accompanied me until I went outside for a visit to the inner garden with renaissance pond, the arched courtyard, and a collection of rare paintings. Unfortunately, the chapel of San Miguel was under construction, although I could still see the Giotto-like frescoes behind the protective glass. As more people were coming in, I moved to the very Gothic church before ending my visit to Pedralbes.

Picture of Pedralbes monastery (Spain): Bell tower of the Pedralbes church
Picture of Pedralbes monastery (Spain): Pedralbes monastery: nun walking under the arches
Picture of Pedralbes monastery (Spain): Arches seen from the inner courtyard of Pedralbes monastery
Picture of Pedralbes monastery (Spain): Looking up Pedralbes church
Picture of Pedralbes monastery (Spain): Pedralbes monastery: man walking up the cobble stone street
Picture of Pedralbes monastery (Spain): Ceramic art in detail in Pedralbes monastery
Picture of Pedralbes monastery (Spain): Fresco by Ferrer Bassa in the San Miguel chapel
Picture of Pedralbes monastery (Spain): Sunlight on the doors of the Pedralbes monastery
Picture of Pedralbes monastery (Spain): View on the inner courtyard through the many arches of Pedralbes monastery
Picture of Pedralbes monastery (Spain): Kitchen of the old infirmary of Pedralbes monastery
Picture of Pedralbes monastery (Spain): Example of one of the special paintings in the collection of the Pedralbes monastery
Picture of Pedralbes monastery (Spain): Colorful gothic windows in the Pedralbes church
Picture of Pedralbes monastery (Spain): Pedralbes church seen from below

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Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Pedralbes monastery (Spain). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Pedralbes monastery.
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