​The monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes is one of the most impressive and ancient vestiges of Romanesque architecture in Catalonia. It is located in a privileged place on one of the peaks of the Sierra de Rodes. The great height of the mountain and the proximity to the sea make that the first thing that the visitor sees of this monastery are its breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. The second is the huge size of the building. It represents a true colossus of architecture, both at the time it was built, as it is today.

Anyone who has approached this area of the province of Girona from the 10th century until now has seen this majestic and elegant monastery. The building itself is a gem of the Romanesque style of the area. But the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes is also surrounded by a beautiful nature. The whole set is protected under the Natural Park of Cap de Creus. Only in this way can we ensure that visitors and passers-by can enjoy this place for at least another thousand years.
The monastery itself has been seen in many different situations during its extensive history. It began as a small monastic cell in the ninth century. There were times of splendor when its dominions were on both sides of the Pyrenees. The monastery saw its decline in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Finally, it was abandoned by the Benedictine monks who lived there. The building  was also looted and left in ruins.
But nowadays the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes has been restored and preserved. Here archeological excavations have been carried out to try to clarify its early history. It has also been declared as a place of national interest to protect it. Nowadays it is the favorite place for both history and architecture lovers as well as for curious and visitors who want to discover everything that this complex has to offer. For this reason, today we want to talk about 5 curiosities of the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes that can make your visit more interesting.

1. The unique architecture of the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes

The unique architecture of the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes​

The monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes is usually classified as a Romanesque construction by the period in which it was erected. However, architecture experts point out that the style of this complex is completely autochthonous.
In fact, the elements of Sant Pere de Rodes are more reminiscent of the Carolingian and Central European churches than of the peninsular Romanesque. It also has a strong influence of late Roman architecture.
The style of the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes is usually a topic of discussion of connoisseurs on issues of architecture. This is due to the fact that in this colossal construction are joined elements from classical antiquity to late Romanesque, passing through elements of local architecture and autochthonous. Definitely a place you can not miss.

2. More than 1000 years of history

Today the true origin of the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes or the main reason for which it was built remain unknown. There are different legends about the early days of the monastery. What we do know for sure is the first news that we have of a religious site in this place is from the ninth century.

The year 878 is the first moment in which the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes is mentioned in a written document. At that time it was only a small cell dedicated to St. Peter and dependent on other religious bodies. From year 945 already has been recorded of an independent Benedictine monastery with own abbot. That means that the monastery has 1139 years of history to tell us.

3. Home of sacred relics

Home of sacred relics

One of the legends that speaks about the origin of the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes is that the place was constructed to house some sacred relics of Christianity. It is said that during the seventh century Pope Boniface IV feared the invasion of Rome by the barbarian peoples. It was then decided to remove some of the most valuable relics and take them to other parts of the world to protect them.
The pope’s trusted men carried the bodies of St. Peter, St. Paul and some martyrs, as well as a blister of the blood of Jesus on a ship bound for France. But the expedition ended in the mountain of Verdera, where later the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes would be constructed. 

4. On the same level as St. Peter of Rome

On the same level as St. Peter of Rome

Among Christians there exists a tradition of pilgrimage to holy places. This serves to atone for sins and to obtain indulgence for evil deeds. Thanks to documents from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries today we know that at the time the faithful were also pilgrims to the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes. This pilgrimage helped them to obtain full indulgence, but certain circumstances had to be given.
In the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes is celebrated every year on May 3rd the feast of Santa Cruz or Saint Cross. But the years that May 3rd falls on a Friday were considered Holy Year. Then the monastery was an even more sacred place and attracted tides of worshipers who sought salvation.

5. The Golden Goat

Many are the legends of the locals about the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes. But the most popular of them all is that of the golden goat that seems to be hidden in some of the tunnels beneath the complex. During the splendid times of the monastery, the abbots accumulated many riches. Many of the monks who lived there belonged to noble and powerful families.
For this reason today it is still believed that some treasures have endured centuries of plunder and looting. Among them could be found a statue of a goat of real size made of solid gold. So if you visit the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, you may want to give yourself some distance away from the tour. Maybe you find a real treasure where you least expect it.

If you can not wait longer to visit the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes and look for its famous golden goat, find your perfect Renfe-SNCF en Coopération train and travel to Figueres in no time. You can not miss this trip to the past and this unrepeatable experience.

Join the conversation

    Write a comment