This post is a continuation of the Miami Hidden Gem series, and more specifically, Part 2 of the Spanish Monastery. In Part 1 we toured the outside gardens of the Cloisters. I also talked about how William Hearst was responsible for bringing this beautiful structure to the U.S.
In Part 2, I’m taking you inside for a tour. While you are looking at the pictures, remember that the original structure was built in Spain and Hearst brought the dismantled structure to the U.S in 11,000 crates.
I’m awe stricken all over again looking at the photos and remembering how the stone felt in my hands. It definitely takes me to another place and time.
One year after Hearst’s’ death in 1952, the crates were purchased by two entrepreneurs Raymond Moss and William Edgemon, who eventually reassembled them on the site of a small plant nursery. Initially they built with the intention for use as a tourist attraction.
The original monastery was constructed during the years 1133–1141. It was originally named “Monastery of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels” and built in a mountain region at 830 m above sea level in Segovia.
The area has medieval churches, chapels, monasteries, walls, castles, within the natural landscape of the Duratón River Gorges. The traditional access to the monastery was an ancient path with the masonry ruins of a watermill.
The original monks would ring this bell when it was time for dinner.
I still don’t know the history of this bell.
What I do know is that the chapel was erected in the 15th century by Beltrán de la Cueva, 1st Duke of Albuquerque.
He was a favorite of Henry IV of Castile and the first Duke of Albuquerque, to be earmarked for the family vaults. These were also sold in the 20th century after the secularization of the monastery.
The original structure suffered many perils; Holy Wars, people dressed in terrible outfits, and the lack of mops.
Seriously the only thing I could think of was how do you keep a place like this clean?!
It took 19 months and the equivalent of nearly $20 million dollars (in today’s currency) to put the Monastery back together. In 1953 Time magazine called it “the biggest jigsaw puzzle in history.”
As you can see, the puzzle was worth the wait and expenditure!
The quiet hallways are filled with such rich history, you can feel it as you walk through. It may feel a little eery at times, but the tranquility makes it so peaceful.
Most of the historic monastery building is in the United States. This includes the cloister, the chapter house and the refectory of the monks.
The rest of the monastic compound, that is, the church and other facilities such as Cilla (mullion) remain privately owned in Spain. It was declared a Spanish national monument on June 3, 1931.
Hope you enjoyed the tour of the Spanish Monastery in Miami!