The Poblet monastery, where the mortal remains of several kings of Aragon rest, is probably the most emblematic place to visit in the province of Tarragona. Located in the Conca de Barberà region, it is one of the most important abbeys in Catalonia and throughout Europe. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1991. Although today it is still inhabited by a community of about thirty monks, a good part of the spaces of the enormous monastic complex are open to the public.

In addition, the Poblet monastery is the central point of the cistercian route, a journey through three Catalan Cistercian monasteries that also includes Santes Creus, in Tarragona, and Vallbona de les Monges, in Lleida.

 

Brief history of the Poblet Monastery

The origins of this Cistercian monastery date back to 1149 when Ramón Berenguer IV handed it over to the monks of a French abbey. It was a site that met the standards of the Cistercian order. In other words, to be located in an isolated place, to be surrounded by land suitable for agriculture and to have a water supply. Its greatest peak was during the 14th century, when it was home to up to 140 monks, plus the lay brothers who worked for them. It was at that time, specifically in 1340, when Peter the Ceremonious ordered the monastery to become a royal pantheon. In this way, and until the 15th century, it came to house the tombs of the kings of Aragon and Counts of Barcelona, ​​specifically, up to eight kings and three queens. In 1835 the Poblet monastery was abandoned after the Mendizábal Confiscation. A century later, in 1930, the reconstruction of the monastery began, and after ten years the first monks of this new era arrived. Reconstructed and protected by UNESCO, the Poblet Monastery is today a must-see in Catalonia.

 

The monastery

As soon as the Monastery is accessed, it is divided into two parts: one exterior and one interior (both beautiful). In the outdoor area you can see the Chapel of San Jorge (15th century), the Golden Gate (15th century) and the Chapel of Santa Catalina (1250), as well as several more modern buildings, such as the cafeteria or the Hospedería de Poblet. On the other hand, in the interior area you can see the wine press and the vault, the main cloister, the kitchen and the heater. You can also admire the chapter house, the cloister, the library and the monks’ bedroom.
The entire monastery is worth admiring and visiting, but the Church of the Monastery is worth noting. This consists of three naves with a transept, in which the Romanesque and Gothic styles are combined. Thus, the lateral naves have ribbed vaults and the central one, with a pointed barrel. Something that undoubtedly draws attention is the imposing alabaster altarpiece made in 1529 during the reign of Carlos I, although in reality it is a reconstruction of the 20th century since the original was almost destroyed after the monastery was abandoned.
However, the most distinctive element of the church of the Poblet Monastery is, without a doubt, the set formed by the royal tombs located in two large blocks on both sides in the center of the transept.
Besides, in other places of the church and of the monastic enclosure there are tombs of nobles and abbots.
Located less than an hour from Hotel Kursaal Calafell, the Poblet Monastery is a must-see and will not leave you indifferent. What are you waiting for? Visit the Monastery of Poblet!