|Visit of the ROYAL MONASTERY OF SANTA MARÍA DE POBLET
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.