Today I had the lovely task of chauffeuring two friends to see the Real Monasterio DeSanta Maria de la Valldigna, followed by travelling to Cullera for lunch. Both of these locations are located in Valencia, and both for completely different reasons are worth seeing.
The monastery is set in superb grounds, in a lovely valley, with a lovely backdrop of mountain ranges.
…The monastery was founded in 1297 by James II of Aragon. Since the beginning, it was one of the most important monasteries of the Cistercian order. It was founded by the monks of Santes Creus in the Tarragona province. The whole Valldigna valley belonged to the monks, according to a royal order.
The monastery was inhabited by monks until 1835, when a revolt in the Valldigna valley took place after the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal. After that, the monks were forced to abandon the monastery. Most of its goods and works of art were sold, plundered or destroyed….(Wikipedia)
I was immediately taken by the tranquility of the location, of the range of buildings and outhouses, and with the internal art work shown in the main building in the grounds. The interior of the main building shows only a flavour of what it must of looked like at the high of its occupation by the monks.
I fell in love with quietness of the location, and with the beauty of the craftsmanship and thought which had gone into the plans for the monastery. It obviously was a place of work, but also of contemplation and spiritual retreat.
I have been smitten by this monastery and will be returning at least once a month so that I can sketch and paint some part of it, and also to take time out to recharge my batteries.