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Monestir de Pedralbes Overview

The Gothic Monasterio de Pedralbes can be found in the Catalan city of Barcelona. It is now a museum that features displays of the building's own art and history as well as occasional displays from outside organisations. One of the finest examples of Catalan Gothic architecture can be found in the monastery's church and cloister.

Barcino's Monasterio de Pedralbes is a Gothic masterpiece which currently serves as a publicly accessible museum. This museum gives visitors a glimpse into the lives of mediaeval monks. Although it is conveniently close to Finca Güell, the monastery in the city's northwestern quadrant is largely ignored by visitors. While in Barcelona, don't miss out on this unexpected gem and haven of peace. Very devout Elisenda de Montcada (James II's fourth and final wife) financed the building of a convent for the Clarisses, a female branch of the Franciscan order, in 1327.

The Latin origin of the name "Pedralbes" alludes to white stones, or "petras albas." After being kept secret for centuries, the Pedralbes monastery finally opened to the public in 1972 when the municipal government of Barcelona and the nuns reached an agreement to donate the monastery to the city for use as a museum. A new convent for the nuns would be constructed by the city as compensation. In 1983, after years of renovations, the old monastery reopened to the public. The many parts of the monastery are open to visitors, including the kitchen, the herb garden, the old dormitories housing an exhibition/museum showcasing the monastery's relics, and the various chapels. If you're taking a vacation in Barcelona, you shouldn't miss this place and the adjacent monastic church.

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Highlights

• Get ready to learn more about ancient Catalonia by visiting one of Barcelona's most famous landmarks, the Monasterio de Pedralbes.
• Discover the historical significance of Queen Elisenda de Montcada's 1327 construction of the monastery, the oldest in the area.
• View the church and the three-story cloister, two prime examples of Catalan Gothic architecture.
• Admire the extensive artefacts and paintings that chronicle the history of the sheltered community that called the monastery home until 1983.
• Explore the city's many districts to learn about Barcelona and Catalonia's 700-year history.
• Visit the church and marvel at its stunning Catalan Gothic and southern European design.
• Visit St. Michael's Chapel and be amazed by the fresco and secco paintings that were created using a hybrid technique.
• Visit the Queen's tomb and hear legends about her reign and the impact she had on cloistered society.
• Learn about the history of the community by visiting the chapter house, a gathering place in the neighbourhood that has been around since the 14th century and was designed by the illustrious architects Antoni Nato and Guillem Abiell.
• Seize the chance to view the abbey room's mural decorations, which were created in the 14th century using a fresco-tempera hybrid technique.

How To Reach

  • By Car: The centre of Barcelona is 6.1 km from where the action will take place. The drive there won't take more than 20 minutes.
  • By Train: There is a 2.3-kilometer distance between Maria Cristina Station and the site of the event. In no more than 8 minutes, you'll have arrived at your destination.

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Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Monasterio de Pedralbes is on the first Sunday of the month, as you get free entry to this attraction. However, you can visit even on early opening hours to avoid the crown and buzz, and enjoy the place in peace.

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Other Essential Information

Here are some tips that every tourist should keep in mind while visiting the Monestir de Pedralbes:

  • Come to Monasterio de Pedralbes on a hot day and you'll be glad you did because it's nice and cool inside.
  • This museum can be easily reached by those with mobility constraints hence do come here to enjoy instead of keeping at home.
  • There are also audio guides for your convenience hence do pay for them for a better experience.

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Rules and Regulations:

  • There are a number of items that cannot be brought into the monastery, including but not limited to backpacks, bags, or items larger than 25x25cm, tripods, helmets, sticks, voice amplification devices, and chairs other than wheelchairs, as stated in the centre's regulations.
  • Also prohibited are the use of any kind of food, drink, or tobacco products anywhere on the premises.
  • In order to preserve the spiritual purity of the monastery and out of respect for the monks and nuns who live there, visitors are not permitted to wear period costumes or other such items.

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Day Wise Timings
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10:00 AM to 01:30 PM
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10:00 AM to 01:30 PM
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10:00 AM to 01:30 PM
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10:00 AM to 01:30 PM
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10:00 AM to 04:30 PM
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10:00 AM to 04:30 PM
Point of Interest for Monestir de Pedralbes
Cloister
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Cloister

The cloister at the monastery is exceptionally large and well-balanced for its architectural type. It is a great place to take a stroll because of all the beautiful plants, and serves as the focal point of the monastery.

It features two galleries on the ground level with twenty-six columns on each side built of nummulitic stone (a type of Girona limestone that contains fossil remains) and a third top gallery that was added later and is often regarded as the largest Gothic cloister in the world.

The cloister is the site of an ongoing project that, using the monastery's archival materials and historical medical treatises, is recreating a mediaeval medicinal herb garden.

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Abbey Room
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Abbey Room

Even though it has been altered many times for different purposes, the abbey room still has some of its original mural decorations from the turn of the 14th century.

It wasn't until 1938 that August Duran I Sanpere unearthed the frescoes and tempera paintings that adorned the monastery room's whitish walls.

They feature drapes adorned with fantastical animals that envelop the entire space. There's a painting of a tapestry with a border of geometric shapes and the monastic insignia on one of the walls.

Dormitory
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Dormitory

The original dorms for the nuns, located in the northern part of the monastery, are currently used as a gallery. A gable roof rests above this spacious room; its eleven lancet arches are supported by massive corbels. The Queen's Room, which is adjacent to the dorm, may have been built on the site of the queen's old palace, which she had demolished per her will.

The area was renovated for use by the novitiate community in the 17th century.Over the course of several centuries, numerous improvements have been made to the dorm in order to meet the evolving demands of the neighbourhood.

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Church
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Church

An impressive Gothic retablo sits atop one nave in the monastery's noteworthy church. It is sparsely decorated apart from the tableau, save for a single, enormous rose window. As a result of the rapid pace at which it was constructed, the church's architectural style is remarkably uniform.

It combines the simplicity and grandeur typical of Catalan Gothic with the austerity of southern European mendicant architecture. There is a single nave with a rib-vaulted roof and side chapels installed between buttresses.

St. Michael’s Chapel
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St. Michael’s Chapel

The St. Michael's Chapel is a beautiful architectural highlight of the Monastery. The Abbess Francesa ça Portella commissioned the painter Ferrer Bassa to create the exquisite sequence of murals that adorn St. Michael's Chapel in 1343 and 1346 for use as her private cell.

However, the paintings were painted using a combination of fresco and secco techniques, despite the contract's requirement that the chapel be painted with oils. These artworks represent the earliest known use of the Italian Trecento style in Spain and Portugal. Artwork depicts scenes from Christ's suffering and Mary's triumphant life, as well as numerous saints in the tradition of Marian devotions.

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Refectory
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Refectory

The refectory, is where the nuns are in solitude, is situated in the cloister, across from the Fountain of the Angel, where the sisters would wash their hands before meals. The original wall cabinets that housed each person's set of dining utensils are still on display in the De Profundis antechamber, together with Valencian tiles from the 16th and 18th centuries. The initial prayer, offered to the sainted nuns and donors who had passed on, was spoken here in this liminal zone.

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