Pedralbes Monastery (Barcelona). Health and medieval gastronomy.

It seems incredible when we walk through Barcelona, ​​busy and noisy, that an oasis of peace and quiet can exist within its borders. But indeed there are such places! We already started to discover this hidden part of the city with the article about the church of Santa María del Pi, a Gothic gem and temporal trace of the old city in the heart of Barcelona. Now we present a second equally interesting space: The Pedralbes Monastery.

Visit for cultural communicators!

First of all we want to thank the organizing team of the monastery and Dive for the visit they offered to cultural communicators, the tourism industry, bloggers and cultural platforms.

The Pedralbes Monastery is a cloister nun convent dated on fourtheenth century. It was built by Elisenda de Montcada, forth wife of the king Jaume II. Before his death, she wanted to ensure herself a place, both social and spiritual, and so asked her husband to build a monastery.  Elisenda de Montcada never became abbess of the monastery and even she lived in an adjacent building, that was demolished following her will once she passed away. Since its founding, and even today after its reopening to the public on 1983, the monastery is inhabited by the Poor Clares (Nons of the order of Saint Clare). However, they live now in an adjacent space.


The social difference between nuns always played an important role when considering the different monasteries, but this is a clear case of such distinction: the abadess was not even living in the monastery among the other nuns. This difference is evident taking a look into her grave, a double construction which can be seen from both sides of the wall -from the cloister and also from the interior of the church- and which represents the recumbed figure of Madame de Montcada, dressed as a penitent -for the cloister side- and dressed with aristocratic clothes on the church side.

This is a clear symbolism of power and hierarchy which is notable in almost the whole facility: on one side there are the places that belonged to those called “hearted”, because they could read and write and therefore they could sing and interpret the holy text, and on the other side spaces that corresponded to those who had arrived not only with a too small dowry but also with little education. These latter were relegated to low-skilled and more manual tasks.

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One of the most surprising parts of the monastery is the cloister. It acquires majesty through its three architectural plans, a low-fourteenth century plan, a first of the fifteenth century and a second of the sixteenth century. Among the different locations of the monastery, one deserves special attention: the medicinal plant area. It cared about the whole nun’s community. Nowadays it is a reconstruction, following treaties and studies of the time,  of what may have been the medicinal garden.

With the availability of a self grown orchards, medicinal plants and water life in the monastery must have been almost self-sufficient.

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 Sanitatis regime

What did the people eat in Middle ages? Was it good? Does it still belong to our diet? Was it healthy? These are questions that can be solved in a workshop for the visitors prepared by the organization team of the monastery every Sunday. It consists in preparing what would be a medieval lunch, with ingredients that supposedly were used in a common meal of that time if one reads ancient treaties and studies. Tasting such dishes is somehow like savouring history.

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It is definitely a gastrohistorical experiencie worth to live, which can later be tried at home!

To conclude we can only thank the Pedralbes Monastery for inviting us. If you are looking for interesting activities in these warm days of Summer, don’t think it twice! Discover the mystery of the Pedralbes Monastery and learn the basics of Middle ages cuisine.

Gabino Martínez y Guiomar Sánchez

With the hashtag #VisitaMPedralbes you can see more photos, related links and tweets.

Other articles of Gabino and Guiomar:

Saint Agapito or ‘Pilon’s Party’
# MurSàhara. A land without roots | The expo, the concept

Català Castellano

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