Official excursion: The Royal Monastery of Santa María de Poblet and Montblanc

29 June

15:30 Departure by bus from the Hotel Husa Imperial Tarraco, with an English speaking guide, to The Royal Monastery of Poblet, 46 kms away from Tarragona.

The austerity of primitive Romanesque in its transition to Gothic is manifested in the Cistercian monasteries. During the 12th century, there was a reaction in the Order against the Cluniac exuberance which brought austerity to the way of life, the liturgy and the decoration of the churches.

The architecture is characteristically simple in its lines and decoration, and the Royal Monastery of Santa María de Poblet is one of the best examples of this style, and became one of the most important Cistercian monasteries in Europe.

It was founded in 1150, and the complex was built between the 12th and the 18th centuries in Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque styles.

In 1835 the monks abandoned it, and only returned to it in 1940 after a 10 year’s period of restoration. In 1991 was declared World Heritage by UNESCO.

It has three different areas. An old janitor’s office from the XVI Century gives entrance to the first one, dedicated to industrial and agricultural activities, and the Chapel of Saint Georges is its most important architectural element.

The fortified Golden Gate, from the XV century gives entrance to the second area. The remains of the poor’s old Hospital, and the Romanesque Chapel of Saint Cataline are in the middle if the Main Square.

The magnificent Royal Door, flanked by two high towers, gives entrance to the third area, defended by the impressive walls built by Pedro III, as from 1366. The church was erected in the time of Alfonso I (1162-1196), and has a very good Renaissance alabaster altarpiece by Damián Forment.

18:00 Continuation by bus to MONTBLANC, at a distance of 10 kms, it is considered the best preserved medieval town in Catalunya, also known as the “Ducal Town”, that was considered Monumental and Artistic Ensemble in 1947.

It was founded in the XII Century; and to heighten its importance, the Kingdom of Aragón granted important exemptions and privileges, and Juan I established the dukedom of Montblanc in 1392.

The walled enclosure was rebuilt by Pedro el Ceremonioso in the XIV Century, and reached a perimeter of 2 kms with 34 battlemented towers (of which, only 17 remain).

The most important doors are those of San Jorge, Barcelona y Bové.

Visit on foot of this town, that still keeps the medieval atmosphere given by its many buildings with Gothic fronts, such as the Royal Palace and the Alenyá Palace, the Town Hall and the Palace of the Desclergue (both in its arcaded Main Square).

19:30 Return by bus to TARRAGONA, at a distance of 36 kms.

Transfer to the Official Hotels

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