Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes
The monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes is one of the most important of all Catalan Romanesque sites. Perched high on a hillside overlooking the Gulf of Léon, the setting is as impressive as the ruined walls and towers themselves. The first written record of the monastery dates back to 879 AD, when it was one of the many religious institutions founded in this area after the departure of the Moors. The magnificent Bendictines edifice was constructed between 979 and 1022, and was sacked and abandoned in the eighteenth century. Best preserved is the church at its centre with three wide naves and capitals of delicately carved acanthus leaves and animal heads. The 27-meter high bell-tower has fine arcades. The ruins are at their most atmospheric when shrouded in swirling mist, which is not uncommon in autumn and winter. On the hilltop above Sant Pere are the remains of a medieval castle, and fantastic 360º views that sweep from Cerbère in France to Cap de Creus to the east, to Montgrí and Begur in the south, to the high Pyranees in the west. There is an interesting Romanesque church above the main parking lot. On the hillside just below the monastery there is a pretty grotto with a fountain. This is a good spot from which to look up in awe at the mighty edifice above.
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. Read on Wikipedia
This article was written by Francis Barrett. See also Francis' excellent guide to Ireland irelandbyways.com
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