About Monestir de Pedralbes
Monestir de Pedralbes is a gothic church and monastery in Barcelona. Established by Queen Elisenda, the wife of James II of Aragon, in 1326, Monestir de Pedralbes is the oldest building in the wealthy Pedralbes quarter and an architectural gem.
Monestir de Pedralbes history
The monastery was founded by Queen Elisenda de Montcada. She was supported by her husband King James II, who dedicated the Monastery to Saint Mary. Since then, the monastery has been run by nuns of the Sisterhood of the Clares, who resided there virtually uninterruptedly until the year 1983.
Construction of the monastic buildings began in March 1326. The location within the village of Sarrià, back then still far outside of the city walls of Barcelona, was chosen by Queen Elisenda. The foundation stone for the apse is a white stone. The name “Pedralbes” derives from the Latin Petras Albas (white stones). On May 3, 1327, the nuns moved into the monastery.
The result of the short construction period of just one year is a particularly consistent and harmonious example of Gothic architecture in Catalonia, no other architectural styles can be found at this building. It was not until the 15th century that the third and lowest floor of the cloister was added.
The building is one of the best models of Catalan Gothic, both for the church and the three-storey cloister, one of the most spacious and harmonious examples of this style.
The tomb of queen Elisenda is an important part of the struture that offers two slopes, the one that gives to the church, where it appears his image dressed like sovereign, and the one that gives to the cloister, where it is like widow and penitent. Also noteworthy are the stained glass windows of the fourteenth century, several tombs of noble families and the three choirs: high, low and monks.
Monestir de Pedralbes today
Monestir de Pedralbes is now a museum, its beautiful gardens and arches provide a tourist haven. The museum focuses on the lives of the nuns in the fourteenth century, with many original pieces of furniture, gold and silverware and religious artefacts.
Guided tours and an audio guide are available.
Getting to Monestir de Pedralbes
The Pedralbes Monastery is just outside the city centre, but it is easily accessible with the hop-on hop-off bus. The nearest stations are Reina Elisenda, Maria Cristina, Royal Palace. Bus routes H4, V5, 63, 68, 75 and 78 also stop nearby.