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Elegant architecture and antiquity mark this monastery where accommodations are $25.00 with full board.

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Brilliant white plaster walls define the upper cloister where hallways lead to the guest rooms

Surrounded by woodlands, the monastery occupies an elevated position and was built between 1627 and 1632. Almost square in shape, the two-story structure is enhanced with a small patio. The tall ceilings are lavishly decorated with cannon vaults supported by Roman arches and twenty cross-shaped pillars. The lower cloister is a place of harmony, pure lines and aesthetic pleasure. Brilliant white plaster walls define the upper cloister where hallways lead to the guest rooms and to the rooms of the monastic order. The ceiling is a series of beautifully curved lines with multiple barrel vaults.

The old-world town of Alcaniz is not far from the monastery. Enclosed by hills it is home to the 12th century Castel de los Calatravos; the cloister, chapel and keep are all that remain from the original construction. The keep and great hall are ornamented with 14th century frescoes, most depicting scenes of chivalry.

The monastery is close to a region called El Maestrazgo, a milieu of high mountains, deep gorges and stark countryside. Villages and hamlets are tucked here and there throughout the landscape. Beceite is typically Argonese; Penarroya de Tastavins is known as the Albarracin of Lower Aragon because of its beauty.  Rubie los de Mora is completely girdled by a wall, its stone and timber houses underscored by coats of arms. Medieval Mora de Rubielos claims a 12th century Gothic collegiate, its chapels adorned with azulejos.

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