The royal abbey of Santa Maria de Poblet was founded as a Cistercian monastery in 1151. It is located at the foot of the Prades Mountains, about 50 km from Tarragona. The monastery was founded by French monks on the lands reclaimed from the Moors, and Arno Barges became the chief architect.
Monastery Poblet was the first of three similar abbeys, known as the “Cistercian Triangle”, which contributed to the consolidation of power in Catalonia in the 12th century. (the other two are Wallbona de les Montges and Santes Creus).
Monastery Poblet was used as the royal pantheon of the rulers of Aragon, beginning with Alfonso II of Aragon. Some of the most important royal tombs are decorated with alabaster statues that lie on top of the tombs. The feet of many kings contain sculptures of lions, and queens have dogs. In 1948, these tombs were restored by the Catalan sculptor Frederic Mares.
Peter IV of Aragon, who ruled in the 14th century, determined that it was imperative for every ruler of Aragon to be buried in this abbey after death.
Peter IV of Aragon, who ruled in the 14th century, determined that it was imperative for every ruler of Aragon to be buried in this abbey after death. A solemn oath on this occasion was given at the time of the coronation. Only Ferdinand II of Aragon broke this vow after his kingdom was united with the kingdom of Castile: he was buried in Granada.
In total, the monastery is buried eight rulers of Aragon, as well as their spouses. In addition, here you can see the graves of other notable historical figures: the Hungarian Queen Beatrice of Naples (1508) and Philip Wharton, the first Duke of Wharton (1731).
Monastery Poblet (offscreen in English)
During the first civil war in Spain in the 1830s. The monastery was badly damaged and was closed in 1835 by the decree of Isabella II of Spain. And further secularization brought the entire monastic life to nothing. All valuable paintings and furnishings were removed from here, and some parts of the buildings were burnt.
In subsequent years the monastery lay in ruins; part of the vaults collapsed, and the tombs were desecrated. Their remains were stored for some time in the cathedral of Tarragona. In 1940 the monastery was revived by Italian monks of the same order, and its reconstruction began. One building at the main entrance to the church was preserved in the state of the ruins as a reminder of the past. The remains of the rulers of Aragon were transferred back to the tombs, but now they are mixed with each other.
It is worthy of attention the church altar, the sculptural decoration of which was worked out in 1527 by Damian Forment.
Currently, the monastery belongs to the Cistercian congregation of Aragon, as are several other monasteries of St. Mary. About 30 monks live in Poblete. Visitors can see the church, which is distinguished by the beautifully decorated Gothic bell tower, and the tombs of the pantheon (note the tomb of James I of Aragon), as well as the picturesque cloisters. In addition, the monastery has several museums, in which you can see many historical values: in particular, sculptures.
In 1991, the abbey was ranked by UNESCO to the World Heritage sites of mankind.
You can reach the monastery by bus from Tarragona (buses run three times a day on weekdays from the bus station) or by train (three trains per day). Another option is a walk from l’Espluga de Francoli (about 2.7 km).
The monastery can be viewed during a group tour, which take place daily on a schedule twice a day and last approximately 2.5 hours.
Tarragona, 43448 Poblet, Plaza Corona de Aragon, 11
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