Located in the heart of the Raval, the monastery of Sant Pau del Camp
is one of the Romanesque jewels of Barcelona
and one f the oldest monasteries in the city. The first documented reference dates to 977.
Its origins were turbulent: As its name indicates, the monastery is located in the country, outside of the protection of the walls of medieval Barcelona, and was victim of numerous Muslim attacks and raids
. In 985 Almansor's
troops attacked and destroyed the monastery. It wasn't until the 12th century that the marriage of Geribert Guitard
spurred the church's construction and united the monastery of Sant Cugat del Vallès
to establish a new Benedictine community.Sant Pau del Camp
became one of the most important Benedictine monasteries in Catalonia and was the stage of number chapters of the Congregació Claustral Tarraconense (Tarragona Cloister Congregation)
and the cloister
are the best conserved elements of the Romanesque group. The church consists of a single Greek cross nave covered by a barrel vault though it is the exterior architecture that most stands out. The building is decorated with reliefs that show human faces, fanciful animals from Christian iconography and floral motifs. To either side of the entrance way, two columns crowned by Visigothic marble capitals support the semi-circular archivolt. The tympanum shows the image of Christ accompanied by the apostles Peter and Paul
and the front is decorated with sculptures of the evangelists.
To the south of the church resides the monastery's architectural jewel
: its cloister is unique to Catalonia. The cloister is formed by Muslim-inspired lobular arches that are supported by columns
headed by Corinthian capitals. There are also Romanesque capitals that show animals and fanciful beings.
Sant Pau del Camp is part of the ‘Romanesque weekend: from Barcelona to Vic