The Catalan Romanesque: Ripoll and Sant Joan de les Abadesses Monasteries

Monastery of Ripoll

The monastery of Santa María de Ripoll is a Benedictine monastery located in the town of Ripoll. It was founded around 880 by Count Wilfred the Hairy and became the place where the mortal remains of the Counts of Barcelona and Besalú rest. The monastery of Ripoll managed to be a very important cultural center of the Middle Ages, with a projection at the height of other European abbeys. In the twelfth century a new portico was made in the form of a triumphal arch, which is considered a masterpiece and reference of Catalan Romanesque. It represents several sculptures among which the central image with the Maiestas Domini, the apostolate and scenes from the Old Testament stand out. Since 1931 it has been protected after being declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest.

Monastery of Sant Joan de les Abadesses

The current church of the Monastery of Sant Joan de les Abadesses was consecrated in 1150. It presents, therefore, the characteristic features of Catalan Romanesque, with the added singularity of being one of the most beautiful and emblematic examples of the great monumental architecture of the twelfth century in Catalonia.

But the monastic enclosure has evolved over its years of history to adapt to the needs of the community and the artistic tastes of the moment. Today we find a Gothic cloister dating from the fifteenth century, an elegant Renaissance building attached to the south transept of the church and the chapel dedicated to the Virgen de los Dolores, with an exceptional baroque dome executed between 1714 and 1715. Inside the church there are works such as the Holy Mystery, the only Romanesque Descent preserved in situ in Catalonia, and a Gothic altarpiece attributed to the workshop of sculptors active in San Juan de las Abadesas in the mid-fourteenth century. The good architectural conservation is due to the restorations that the temple experienced throughout the twentieth century.

Can Gasparó Hotel Rural & Restaurant is located 22km from Ripoll and 32km from Sant Joan de les Abadesses.

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