“In Spain, the architecture of the Cistercian Order produced nothing as grandiose as this”
Coveted by kings, bishops and lords, and considered to be one of the ten marvels of Navarra, the Monastery of Fitero was founded in 1140 and can claim to be the first monastery to be built by the Cistercian Order in the Iberian Peninsula. These were times of war and, in fact, the first abbot of Fitero, St Raimundo, was the founder of the military order of Calatrava (1158).
This Monastery, which was declared a national monument in 1931, is an architectural treasure of the Middle Ages; it was subsequently extended in the 16th and 18th centuries. It comprises a vast complex of buildings of considerable size and height, particularly the main nave and prismatic tower which dominates the complex.
A snapshot of its history:
With the foundation of the monastery of Fitero (1140) by Alfonso VII of Castille, the doors of Spain opened to the Cistercian Order, which rapidly spread through the various Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. The White Monks brought rapid changes to monastic life, based on a return to the original strictness of the rule of St Benedict.
Austerity and balance between prayer, reading and manual work, marked the life of the White Monks, who created 75 male monasteries from Portugal to Cataluña. Navarra played an important role in this scenario, with the monasteries of La Oliva (1149), Iranzu (1178), Leire (1237) and Marcilla (1407), in addition to Fitero from 1373 onwards.
As a medieval complex forming part of the Cistercian Order, the architecture of the monastery of Fitero is recognised for the pureness and simplicity of its style.
It is now possible to visit the Cloisters of the Monastery and its adjoining buildings, such as the Abbey church.
Get further information at www.fiterocisterciense.com