Monastery of Pedralbes

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Side façade of the Church in the monastery of Pedralbes.
File:Tomba d'Elisenda de Montcada.jpg
Tomb of Elisenda de Montcada.

The Monastery of Pedralbes is a Gothic monastery in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It is now a museum, housing collections from Barcelona City's History Museum.


The monastery was founded by King James II of Aragon for his wife Elisenda de Montcada in 1326. It housed a community of Poor Clares, mostly members of noble families. The queen gave the monastery a series of privileges, including the direct protection of the city of Barcelona, through the Consell de Cent ("Council of the Hundred"), who had the task to defend it in case of danger. Elisenda also built a palace annexed to the monastery, where she lived after her husband's death in 1327. She died there in 1367. The remains of the palace were discovered in the 1970s.

File:Pedralbes cloister.JPG
View of the cloister.

During the Catalan Revolt (1640), the nuns were expelled, but later returned. A small number of nuns still reside in the complex. The monastery was declared a national monument in 1991.


Originally the monastery (built in white stone, pertas albes in Catalan, whence its denomination) was defended by a line of walls, of which today only two towers and one gate remain.

The church has a single nave, with rib vaults and a polygonal apse, and houses a Gothic retablo by Jaume Huguet. The façade is characterized by a large rose window.

The cloister has three floors, and a length of 40 meters, with a central garden of orange trees and palms. It is formed by wide arches on columns, whose capitals are decorated with the emblems of the Kings of Aragon and the House of Montcada. The sepulchre of Queen Elisenda, in alabaster stone, is located in one of the cloister's wings.

Also notable is the Chapel of St. Michael, housing several fresco paintings by Ferrer Bassa. Dating to 1346, they show the influence of the Italian painter Giotto.

The former dormitory houses a permanent exhibition of painters such as Rubens, Canaletto, Tintoretto, Velázquez and Beato Angelico (Virgin of the Humility, one of his masterworks).


External links