Miami Hidden Gem: Spanish Monastery Pt. 2

Miami Hidden Gem: Spanish Monastery Pt. 2

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.



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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.



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The original monks would ring this bell when it was time for dinner.

Just kidding.

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.



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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!

+ Learn more with Part 1
+ And check out these Brickell Historical Spots

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Evelyn Torres
Evelyn Torres

As one of Miami’s top bloggers, Evelyn Torres has become one of the leading voices in fitness, fashion, and Miami. Brickellista started as a Twitter alias in 2009 and has expanded to become a lifestyle blog capturing a Miami girl’s perspective. Evelyn is a businesswoman, entrepreneur, brand ambassador and on the pulse of the Miami social scene.

Today as founder and Managing Director of BrickellistaFiles.com, Evelyn is not only the face of BrickellistaFiles, but oversees the strategy and direction. She is the driving force behind the brand and has built the go-to site for everything Miami.

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1 Comment

  1. Great article. Your posts on all things Miami are not only informative, but fun to read. Loved the line: “they experienced many perils: wars, horrible outfits…” Made me laugh out loud because it was coming from a fashion blogger!

    Thank you for covering us. Your fans have already contacted us asking for more information to visit.

    You are right about the bell. The bell was rung to call the monks to meals. It was a later addition to the Monastery and is dated to the early Renaissance.

    The reason the bell is on the wall there, is because the Chapel was originally built as the dining hall (refectorio/comedor). The original Chapel, which you describe in your post as built by the Duke, is still in Spain. Our Chapel was built in 1133 AD (360 years before Columbus came to the New World). On the stone window frame near the Altar you can still see dark smudges of soot. That’s because the kitchen used to be next to this room where the monks ate. The soot marks are from grease fires over 800 years ago.

    Again, thanks. We have 80,000 visitors every year who come to visit. We’re showing all the fashionistas your blog!

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