St. Pere de Rodes


1/2 Day

  Sant Pere de Rodes.

The Benedictine monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes is an important former monastery. It has been constructed in the side of the Verdera mountain below the ruins of the castle of Sant de Verdera that had provided protection for the monastery. It offers exceptional views over the bay of Llançà, to the north of Cap de Creus. Near the monastery Santa Creu de Rodes is the ruins of a medieval town, of which its preRomanesque style church is the only remains dedicated to Saint Helena.

The true origin of the monastery is not known, which has given rise to speculation and legend; such as its foundation by monks who disembarked in the area with the remains of Saint Peter and other saints, to save them from the Barbarian hordes that had fallen on Rome. Once the danger had passed the Pope Boniface IV commanded them to construct a monastery.

Nevertheless the first documentation of the existence of the monastery dates 878, it being mentioned as a simple monastery cell consecrated to Saint Peter, but it is not until 945 when an independent Benedictine monastery was founded, prevailed over by an abbot. Bound to the County of Empúries it reached its maximum splendor between the XI and XII centuries until its final decay in 17th century. Its increasing importance is reflected in its status as a point of pilgrimage.

In the 17th Century XVII it was sacked in several occasions and in 1793 was deserted by the Benedictine community which was transferred to Vila-sacred and finally settled in Figueres in 1809 until it was dissolved. The monastery was declared a national monument in 1930. In 1935 the Generalitat of Catalonia initiated the first restoration work. The buildings are constructed in terraces, given its location. Cloisters of XII century form the central part of the complex. Around them the rest of constructions are distributed. The Church, consecrated in the year 1022, is the best exponent of the Romanesque style and without comparison with others of its time. Detailing features plants with three bays and a vault. These are bordered by a double column with capitals influenced by the Carolingian Style. The double column support arches separating the bays. The columns and pillars have been taken from a former Roman building. The bay is splendid with large dimensions with an arch in the apse; this is continued in the two lateral bays. Under the apse is a crypt. The church synthesizes a number of original styles including Carolingian, Romanesque and Roman. The monastery is considered one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in Catalonia. In the western facade of the monastery is a XII Century bell tower, a square shape it is influenced by the Lombard from the previous century. To the side is a defensive tower, that was probably began in the X Century but finished later after several modifications.  


Cap de Creus  

Cape of crosses in Catalan is located at the far NE of Catalonia, some 25 km south from the French border. The nearest town is Figueres, capital of the Alt Empordà and birthplace of Salvador Dalí. It is a peninsula of 190 square kilometers of an extraordinary landscape value; a very rocky dry region, with almost no trees, in contrast with a seaside rich in minuscule creeks of deep blue sea to anchor. Mountains are the last eminences of the Pyrenees which make the natural border between France and Spain. The region is frequently swept by awful north wind "tramontana" (beyond mountains) which has caused many naval disasters. Cadaqués is the most well known village, home of artists and writers, with sophisticated and snobbish atmosphere, near Port Lligat where Dalí built his home in a paradise small bay. El Port de la Selva, with a little fishing harbor is less exploited, with good gastronomic recourses and pleasant terraces. Fantastic Sant Pere de Rodes stands out at 500 m of altitude with spectacular views of the Cap and the Pyrenees. It is a 11th century monastery whose first structures date from about 750 AD. It is a magnificent building in Catalan roman style with imposing dimensions and some pre-Romanic painting rests.

Cap de Creus is the easternmost point of mainland Catalonia. The legend tells that the Cap de Creus was made by Hercules.