Official Site and Wikipedia
he Monastery of Santa Maria de Poblet is a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1151,by Cistercian monks from France. The main architect was Arnau Bargués. It was the royal pantheon of the kings of the Crown of Aragon since James of Aragon. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, since 1991. The altar (1527) was sculpted by Damián Forment.
Closed down due to the State’s laws in 1835, the monastery was refounded in 1940 by Italian monks of the same order. Poblet belongs to the Cistercian Congregation of the Crown of Aragon, along with Santa Maria de Solius and nunneries such as Santa Maria de Vallbona and Santa Maria de Valldonzella. The Abbot of Poblet is the ex officio chairman of the Congregation. Today the monastic community of Poblet is composed of 29 professed monks, 1 regular oblate, 1 novice and 2 familiars.
This monastery was the first of three sister monasteries, known as the Cistercian triangle, that helped consolidate power in Catalonia in the 12th century. (The other two are Vallbona de les Monges and Santes Creus)
Spring (16 March - 14 June) open working days, 10:00 - 12:40 / 15:00 - 17:55 and on Sundays and Feast days 10:00 - 12:25 / 15:00 - 17:25
The most characteristic thing about the wonderful cloister at this monastery is the unusual washhouse, a small shelter set in the garden area with a large circular basin around a stone with a fountain and small water jets, completely covered with lichen and moss. The rest of the area is taken up by squares of Laurustinus and Japanese pittosporum hedges with small interior beds of a few roses. Eighteen orange trees surround the area and make one think of the close relationship between this tree and monastery cloisters, given that similar plantations were often to be found, as was the case at Guadalupe, which was known by the name, “orange tree cloister”. The beauty of the main cloister overshadows the peaceful tranquillity of the back cloister, which has been found to be difficult to date. It is much more simple, with low arches and no decorated capitals as can be found in the main cloister. Mention should be made of the simple sense of spirituality provided by a small fountain around which eight large cypress trees stand.
16 March to 15 September, Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-1pm and 3-6.30pm.
On Wikipedia The medieval walled City of Montblanc is in the interior of the province of Tarragona. It is the commercial & cultural centre of the district and is visited by tourists who come to see the medieval Wall, (La Muralla de Montblanc) The Cathedral and many of the City's buildings feature medieval architecture.