Sant Pere de Rodes Monumental Complex
Sant Pere de Rodes monumental complex, made up of Sant Pere de Rodes Monastery, the town of Santa Creu and Verdera Castle, is in the heart of Cap de Creus Nature Reserve and part of the municipality of Port de la Selva.
It was founded in the late 9th century during the expansion of the Benedictine monastic order in the Catalan counties promoted by the Frankish monarchy. The main monument is Sant Pere Monastery and under its aegis Verdera Castle and the town of Santa Creu flourished.
The architectural remains of this monumental complex are a unique example of the structure of a Mediaeval settlement. The tour of the monastery, the castle and the town gives us a chance to discover in a single place the spaces that housed the three estates on which Mediaeval society was founded: the oratores, who prayed; the bellatores, who went to war; and the laboratores, who did the work.
The historical and architectural restoration carried out by the Generalitat de Catalunya since 1986 allows us to enjoy this splendid place which, with its natural surroundings, excellent conservation and singularity, makes up an outstanding heritage complex.
Verdera Castle stands at the highest point of the Rodes Sierra, 2000 feet above sea level. Its summit provides an extraordinary panoramic view and it was this visual domination of the territory and its inaccessible site than gave it great strategic and military value in the Middle Ages.
Built between the 9th century and the beginning of the 10th, the castle, under the rule of the counts of Empúries, played an important part in a number of wars. Between the 14th and 15th centuries, thanks to the evolution of techniques of combat and the emergence of artillery, the fortress lost its military function and from the 16th century was used as a watchtower against pirate raids.
Among the remains still conserved today the outstanding ones are the Romanesque Sant Salvador church and, most of all the imposing wall raised at the end of the 13th century by Count Ponç IV of Empúries. It is one of the finest examples of military architecture of the time.
Santa Creu de Rodes
Santa Creu de Rodes town and church are built on a small shelf 1500 feet high. The church was built in the 10th century, taking advantage of an old watchtower which took on the function of bell tower. From the 12th century, over the graveyard that surrounded the parish church, the houses of the town were gradually built, as well as the gateways. Through them passed all the roads that led to Sant Pere Monastery.
Santa Creu de Rodes lived its moment of greatest prosperity between the 13th and 14th centuries, when some of the houses were extended and refurbished and districts were built outside the walls. The 15th century marked the beginning of a decline and gradual abandonment by the inhabitants. The church lost its status as parish church in the 16th century and was converted into the Santa Helena chapel, where services were held until the end of the 19th century.
A prosperous town
The urban structure of Santa Creu de Rodes is that of a vila closa, a town where the rear facades of the houses act as a wall and the only access to the interior is through a fortified gateway.
The nerve centre was the church square, around which the houses were built, separated by the streets that run into it. They are large buildings (between 750 and 100 square feet), with a ground floor, a first floor and a tiled roof. They often had a courtyard, a garden or a farmyard.
Santa Creu de Rodes was born and died in the shadow of Sant Pere Monastery and was a prosperous place where fairs and markets were held, with innkeepers, tailors, bakers, cobblers, blacksmiths or notaries, among others, who offered their services to all comers, but especially to the pilgrims who flocked to the monastery.
– Tuesday to Sunday, including holidays.
– From 1st October to 31st May: from 10 to 17:30h.
– From 1st June to 30th September: from 10 to 20h.
Closed Mondays except holidays, 25th and 26th December and from the 1st to 6th January.
The ticket office closes 30 minutes before closing time.
Reservations and guided tours: 972 387 559 / email@example.com
– Church of St. Helena
– Castle of Verdera
– Bar and restaurant. Tel.:972 19 42 33