From the World Heritage inscription:
Santa María of Poblet presents a unique blend of architectural forms generally reserved for distinct applications. It has served as one of the largest and most complete of the Cistercian abbeys, as a massive military complex, and as a royal palace, residence and pantheon. It is a unique artistic achievement and one of the most perfect expressions of Cistercian style in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries. The abbey contains masterpieces from every period such as the great alabaster retablo by Damian Forment (1529).
Poblet presents a unique blend of architectural forms. First and foremost, it is a Cistercian abbey, one of the largest and most complete that exists. North of the church, laid out in the usual way, is a group of monastic buildings that include the great cloister with its fountain, chapter room, monk’s dormitory, parlour and its annex, closed cloister, monk’s room which is now a library, calefactory, refectory and kitchens.
The Poblet Monastery is an easy day trip from Barcelona. Total driving time is about 90 minutes depending on traffic. There are tours offered throughout the day in the monastery but they are only in Catalan and Spanish. There are small guidebooks available in English and German. The Monastery is a working monastery and you will see monks walking around the premises.
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