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Monasterio de Piedra
- Monasterio de Piedra
- Alt Name:
- Monastery of Stone
- High Medieval (1000AD–1300AD)
- Southern Europe
- 1200AD - 1299AD
about Monasterio de Piedra
Nestled amid acres of dramatic parkland crisscrossed by waterfalls, streams and idyllic natural pools, Monasterio de Piedra is a picturesque medieval monastery in the municipality of Nuévalos, in the province of Zaragoza in Northeast Spain.
The Monastery, whose name translates literally as 'The Stone Monastery', was founded in 1194 when Alfonso II, the king of Aragon, donated a castle and the land surrounding it to thirteen Catholic monks from the Order of the Cistercians. The castle dated back to the period of the Muslim Caliphate of Córdoba (929-1031) and had been a Muslim defensive stronghold during the battles against the Christian kingdoms of Northern Spain.
Monasterio de Piedra was constructed over 23 years using materials from the castle and the wall which enclosed it. At the time, the conquest of the region by Catholic forces in 1120 was a relatively recent memory, and the Catholic kingdoms' campaign to re-conquer Spain ('la reconquista') was still underway. In this context, the vast building project served as a symbolic means of proclaiming, consolidating and reinforcing Catholic identity and Catholicism's public presence.
The monastery was built during the transition from Romanesque to Gothic art, and is characterised by an austere and simple architectural style. It does, however, contain various baroque elements, which were added in the eighteenth century.
Cistercian monks lived in the Monasterio de Piedra between 1195 and 1835. They had to abandon the building on three occasions: in 1808 during the War of Independence; during the Liberal Triennium of 1820-23; and finally in 1835, when the building was expropriated by the Liberal Government as part of its disentailment policy (which involved the suppression of Spain's male religious orders and the expropriation and sale of their property). During the latter two periods, many of the monastery's statues and images were decapitated in anticlerical attacks.
Today, Monasterio de Piedra is privately owned and open to the public. Within the building's walls, visitors will also find a wine museum and an exhibition about the history of chocolate. The Monastery grounds also contain a fish farming centre, a luxury hotel, a spa and several restaurants.
Contributed by Maria Thomas
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Address: Monasterio de Piedra, Nuévalos, Zaragoza, Aragón.
Phone: +34 902 19 60 52
From the dual carriageway Autovía A-2 (direction Madrid to Barcelona), take exit Km. 204 (marked Alhama de Aragón - Monasterio de Piedra). On the same dual carriageway, in the opposite direction (Barcelona to Madrid), take exit Km. 231 (marked Nuévalos - Monasterio de Piedra). From Zaragoza bus station, there is one daily bus to the monastery which departs at 9am. The return bus to Zaragoza leaves the monastery at 5pm. See below link.
Park: Apr-Oct: 9am to 8pm, Nov-Mar: 9am to 6pm | Adults: €13.50, children (aged 4 to 12) and OAPs, €10. Monastery: Mar-Oct: 10am to 1:15pm and 3pm to 7pm, Nov to Feb: 11:15am to 1:15pm and 3:15pm a 5:15pm | Adults, children and OAPs: 8 Euros.
The monastery’s gardens contain a number of restaurants, a spa and a hotel.
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