Under the protection of Kings and noblemen, the monastery of Poblet became the nerve centre of medieval Catalonia. The royal pantheon during the middle ages, the complex has become a cultural and historical symbol where the Cistercian monks have come back to live.
The construction of the monastery began in the 12th century and in avariety of architectural styles such as Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. However, the complex enjoys complete harmony both among its architectural elements (which contain all the splendour of theCistercian order) as well as in its relationship with the surroundings of the Prades mountains.
Some of the most notable elements of the monastery include: the Church, which follows the style of Cistercian temples, and where one must admire the altarpiece from the high altar, a Renaissance group in white alabaster by Damià Forment; the beautiful gothic chapel of Sant Jordi, built in the time of Alfonso the Magnanimous (15th century), and the royal gate, a magnificent Gothic construction flanked by two octagonal towers.
It was the king, Pere III El Ceremoniós, (Peter the Ceremonious, 1319-1387) who tied the monastery to the Crown of Aragon, constructing the royal pantheon there, which until then had been in Santes Creus. Here they installed the sepulchres of Alfonso I, his son Pere I el Catòlic (Peter the Catholic), Jaume I el Conqueridor (James the Conqueror), Pere III and many of his successors. The sepulchres, made of white Alabaster, were worked by some of the best sculptors of the time.
The monks of Poblet do not live in isolation and, outside of the closed area, the monastery has many spaces for welcoming visitors, such as the hostel. Tours are also organised for visitors to discover this jewel of Cistercian art.