Santes Creus Monastery

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General view of the monastery. Photo credit: Albert Torelló
On the banks of the river Gaià, surrounded by olive trees and vineyards, we find the Royal Monastery of Santa María de Santes Creus, one of the largest and best preserved Cistercian monastic complexes that we can visit in Spain. The monastery floor reproduces with fidelity the model traced by Saint Bernard, with three enclosures protected by walls, where the different buildings are located according to the needs of the community. The central part includes the four basic pieces of the monastic life: the church, the cloister, the chapter hall and the residential areas.

Founded in 1158 by the powerful family of Moncada, the monastery of Sante Creus reached its most splendid moment in the 13th and 14th centuries, when the kings of Aragon chose the monastery as a royal pantheon. Under his protection Santes Creus has become one of the most extensive and influential monastic domains of the kingdom. The monastic life continued uninterrupted until 1835, when the monastery was abandoned and very deteriorated until the restoration carried out in the 20th century.


✔ The church, with an austere and imposing architecture, without ornamentation. The floor is of Latin cross, with three naves covered with ribed vault, squared apse and four apsidal chapels. The main facade, crowned by crenels, contains a 12th-century Romanesque portal and an imposing Gothic window with stained glass. In the apse we find a magnificent rose window.
✔ The cloister, Gothic in style (14th century), notable for the artistic quality of the ornamentation of the capitals. In the center there is a beautiful Romanesque small temple that houses a fountain - lavatory.
✔ The monumental sepulchres, belonging to the royal family or to members of the Catalan nobility.Very remarkable are the two Gothic monuments of the royal mausoleums of James II of Aragon with his wife, and of King Pere III the Great.
✔ The monastic rooms: the chapter house, the bedroom, the refectory, the kitchens, the cellar and the library.
✔ The Royal Palace, built in several phases (13th - 16th centuries). It has Gothic, Plateresque and Renaissance elements.
✔ The back cloister, from the 16th century.
✔ The Gate of the Assumption or the Royal Arch, Baroque style, finished with a large hexagonal tower.

Plaça Jaume el Just, s/n
Aiguamúrcia (Tarragona) 43815
Tel.: +34 977 638 329
Opening times
Summer (June - September)
Tuesday to Sunday, public holidays included: 10am - 7pm
The rest of the year
Tuesday to Sunday, public holidays included: 10am - 5.30pm
Closed: Mondays not public holidays, 1 and 6 January, 25 and 26 December
General admission: 6 €
Reduced admission: 4 €
Free admission: Under 16 years old, unemployed people
Free entry on the last Tuesday of each month, except in high season.
Accommodation near the monastery