Monasterio de Piedra
|Monasterio de Piedra|
Cloister of the Monasterio de Piedra
|Architectural style||Gothic and Baroque|
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Monasterio de Piedra (Monastery of [the River] Piedra) is a monastery, hotel and park complex in the Iberian System mountain ranges, near Nuévalos, province of Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain. The monastery was founded in 1194 by Alfonso II of Aragon with thirteen Cistercian monks from Poblet Monastery, in an old castle next to the Piedra river, and was dedicated to St. Mary the Fair (Santa María la Blanca). The entire complex has been declared a national monument.
El Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de Piedra (Monastery of our Lady of Stone) is situated beside the Piedra (Stone) River. It is undoubtedly one of the most visited places in Aragon, especially the many gardens and waterfalls created by the river in the Piedra Canyon that have become a place of rest and recreation for tourists.
The Monasterio de Piedra is in one of the most barren areas of Spain. Its origin dates back to 1194, when Alfonso II the Chaste and his wife Doña Sancha donated an old Moorish castle to the monks of Poblet to build a monastery and establish the Christian faith in the area.
The Monasterio de Piedra is in a mountain region at 730 m over sea level, in the "Cordillera Iberica". The traditional access road to the monastery, following the Piedra river, started from the Nuevalos village. Along the old path are the masonry ruins of a watermill or wheel. This beautiful spot is often sought by the Cistercians as inspiration for their work and prayer. The Monasterio de Piedra was founded by Alfonso II in 1164 with monks from Poblet. The work started in 1195 and was completed in 1218.
The monastery lies in the confluence of the Ortiz and Piedra Rivers, in a land of thermal springs, such as Alhama and Jaraba. Islam sought to establish their city on the banks of rivers because its economy was based on agriculture, emphasizing the cultivation of irrigated land. This is why people discarded in height and thus not effectively occupied areas of the Pyrenees, where merely controlling traffic of people and goods through fortified steps at the entrance to the valleys. Is this the reason that the noble and Christian clergy, who were those who had most to lose to the arrival of Islam, to settle in the north, where they began to organize churches and monasteries around which the Christian communities would be developed.
Muslims occupied the existing cities from the Roman Empire and Visigothic civilization, restoring them to a new splendor. This was the case of Huesca, Tarazona, Calahorra and, of course, Zaragoza. In other cases, they founded new cities, such as Tudela, Calatayud, Daroca or Barbastro. This is the case of the region of Calatayud, which currently belongs Nuevalos and the Monasterio de Piedra. The area had a large Muslim population which successfully resisted the Christian reconquest several times, as well as attempts of cultural assimilation. The monasteries served, among other things, as centers of evangelization and colonization.
The monastery was constructed for defensive strength with a web of minor fortress in an area heavily populated by Muslims. From the Muslim era, there are abundant irrigation systems, canals, ditches, ad castles. In 1201, Pope Innocent III issued a bull for D. Arnold, successor to the first abbot, confirming possession of property owned by the monastery on its own terms. In 1212 Pope Innocent III issued a bull confirming all former possessions. During the reign of Pedro IV the differences between monks and residents in 1335 caused the king to receive under his tutelage the Monasterio de Piedra with their vassals. Subsequently, the pontiffs were granted protection. The monks made several altercations, among others were the passage of merchant caravans of mules, the exploitation of the salt today in the municipality of Nuevalos, water use in the villages of the region, dominion over the villages, tithe, etc.
We can see among other things: the origin of the term "pieça", (piece, part), which currently holds in Llumes village to designate the farms, but is lost in the rest of Aragon; the references to localities are under its current name except for Calatayud which appears as "Calataiub". The village now called Llumes is named "Flumes" from Flumen, or "river" in Latin. The municipalities correspond with the current, the limit between Monterde and Llumes is yet the road from Cubel to the Monastery, which is the current limit of the Parish of San Miguel.
Entrance through the walls was gained through the medieval keep. The church opened onto the cloister, noted for its great arches, and the various premises of the monastery. The chapter house (from the early 12th century) was the vital center of monastic life; the monks resided in the main building built in the 17th century. The Romanesque columns of the former abbot's residence support the current Neoclassical one,[clarification needed] constructed in the 18th century. Front of the keep, there are several ancient stone lambing enclosures transformed into hotel rooms, with their corrals landscaped.
The monastery was closed down in 1835 during Isabella II of Spain's rule as a consequence of the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal. The Desamortización caused the exclaustration of the place, brought monastic life to an end and the main church was destroyed. The main building has been converted today into a quiet hotel.
In February 1836, the Mendizabal Confiscation ecclesiastical Act declared the sale of all property belonging to the regular clergy, and the proceeds were intended to amortize the debt. The decree was part of a program that sought to win the Carlist civil war to raise funds and troops to restore confidence in the credit of the State and in the long term, allow the tax reform. Mendizabal, in the preamble, setting out other basic objectives of the seizure: clean up the Hacienda reducing debt, getting access to the property of bourgeois sectors, which would improve production and revalue, and create a new social sector related to the system owners and to the side of queen Cristina.
Since abandoned, In 1840 Pablo Muntadas Campeny a Catalonian wealthy merchant, surprised by the cool environment in this dry remote rural area bought the monastery, maintaining farming and livestock in the place.
His son, Juan Federico Muntadas, will shape the park by making changes, paths and walkways and planting. closest to the circuit of the 19th-century Spanish spas, and aware of the responsibility of conserving the landscape and the precarious state of the monastery, bought the abandoned monastery and its surroundings and tries several viable businesses. These include a spa, a hotel and a salmon farm. In 1860, after discovering the cave Iris, it was opened to the public. In 1867 he created the first fish farm in Spain, naturalized in the waters of the Piedra River brown trout and iberian crayfish. Subsequently, in 1886 the Fisheries Centre of the Monasterio de Piedra was ceded to the Spanish Government. The center continues to have today to Aragonese rivers of species for reforestation. The result of these activities is the garden that we know today, which in 1940 was declared "Paraje Pintoresco Nacional".
Don Juan Federico Muntadas, founder and architect of the park, naturalized in the river Piedra several salmonid species. He explored the existing caves, cleaned and opened a path and brought beautiful tree species bearing a spa to condition at the use of medicinal waters spas of the era.
The church has three naves and transept is very spoiled, especially the vaults completely falls following the abandonment bound by the confiscation. At the Monasterio de Piedra is accessed by a medieval wall that stands the medieval watchtower. The monastery's construction progressed in three architectural stages: Gothic (13th century), Renaissance Gothic (16th century) and Classical-Baroque (18th century).
Are important parts of the head as the five apses, with a semicircular central. The western gate is well preserved despite the shabby facade. He looks late Romanesque and pointed arches and teeth of a saw, much like other Cistercian monasteries. An eye doctor who has lost crowns the original tracery.
The faculty is decidedly Gothic vaults and arches of great simplicity. The Chapter of the Monasterio de Piedra is probably the most valuable, especially after its exemplary restoration that has returned all its glory. It has a square. The vaults are ribbed pillars fasciculate with multiple columns in the center (with traces of original paint) and supports the walls in the form of brackets. It is also dramatically communication with the faculty room with double lancet arches and pointed eyepiece hexalobulados multitude of elegant columns with vegetable-based "crochets." Not fail to see other units preserved as the monks kitchen, the refectory and the Cilla.
Sometimes the spectacular scenery distracts tourists from the now-partially-ruined monastery, which offers pleasant surprises to the lover of medieval art. The Piedra river canyon in the vicinity of the monastery is a place of extreme natural beauty: natural karstic caves and manmade gallerys connecting grotto, a lush, garden-like environment of waterfalls, lagoons, tiny ferns, mosses and rivulets in the midst of an arid wilderness. A stone canyon wetland with thick mediterranean river woods with the scent of mint, along with the sound of water and the singing of birds and the many species of damselflies. Endemic fish species like trout, madrilla and the endangered Barbo atruchado. A marked and fenced path winds its way through the course of the canyon, with overlooks of several waterfalls; the longest and most notable of these is the "Horsetail" (Cola del Caballo), at more than fifty meters high. These waterfalls are formed by the precipitation of dissolved limestone that occurs when the decreasing river level exposes rocks to sunshine; this results in water evaporation and deposits the limestone in successive layers through which the water runs, forming countless rivulets. Minor fluctuations in the river's own flow have resulted in the Karst topography of the region.
Along the way, the River Piedra around a mountain known as " El Espolón" (The Ram). In 1959 was created "el embalse de La Tranquera" a water reservoir that flooded a part of the rivers canyons and channels. The reservoir flooded also the best farmland and several villages in its construction, and when the water level down are even the roofs of some houses. The swamp water is used for domestic water supply, irrigation and electrical energy production. And around it we can find hotels, restaurants and a campsite, and has become a pleasant place for fishing and water sports.
The flora of the area dominated by oak, pine, holm and coscojales (quercus coccifera) and among the clear sunny thickets are lavender (Lavandula stoechas). There are cultivated almond trees, vines, in the more dry and sunny places and cherry trees in the cooler. If you go up the different ranges, from the 800 meters coscoja disappears, and increases the forest vegetation. Also important are the pines around, thanks to afforestation which have been rushing throughout the 20th century. Pine species predominate resinero (pinus pinaster) and Corsican pine (pinus nigra corsicana), but lower in areas where the oaks were once abundant, is easy to find, at present, the Aleppo pine (pinus halepensis), Walnut, horse chestnut, ash, acer, laurel, American cupressaceae... planted by man. In the lagoons and near to watercourse grow various willows, belfry, reed, (Phragmites australis, Typha angustifoli), Imperata cilindrica, Juncus articulatus, Juncus inflexus, Iris pseudacorus, poplar, tamarisk, plum feral, cherry feral, alamo... surrounded by vines Clematis vitalba, feral vines vitis vinifera, and ivy (Hedera helix), wild roses and wild broom (Osyris alba). The tangled hedges forming large brambles (Rubus caesius) and blackberry (Rubus ulmifolius)....
The mammal fauna includes foxes, Beech Marten, wild boars, hares and rabbits. Noteworthy species are deer, badgers and genets, although the number of individuals is limited. Many birds can be found. Notable predators are the colonies of vultures, as well as golden eagles, peregrine falcon, hawks, kestrels, owls (including Scops owls) and other species. Almost every species of European thrush and the Barbary Dove are present, in sufficient numbers to influence regeneration of the vegetation; plants with seeds dispersed by birds include Celtis australis, Cynanchum acutum, and Solanum dulcamara. Another important group is the waterfowl, as in the Gallocanta Lagoon and the Marsh "La Tranquera", both in the region of Calatayud, live or spend the winter, among other species, mallards, ducks, pochard, coots, teal, herons and cormorants. But you can also find plenty of partridges, quail, doves, larks, robins, or finches, to name a few. Finally, it is difficult to find different species of amphibians and reptiles such as frogs, painted frog, newts, lizards, lizard and various kinds of snakes. The most common fish are trout, catfish and madrilla.[clarification needed] Carp and rainbow trout have been introduced in some areas for sport. Invertebrates abundant are Procambarus clarkii, Tarantula and other spiders, butterflies, Brachycera flies, damselflies and dragonflies.
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