Restoration of the cistercian monastery of Nuestra Señora de Rueda

Sástago, Zaragoza, Aragón.
Special mention / Diploma in the category Conservation in the year 2003.

Dating of the building: 13th - 17th century.

Applicant: Aragon Regional Government.

Reason for the award :

For the careful restoration of one of the most significant Cistercian monastic complexes in Europe.

After thirteen years of studies and works, the Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Rueda has recovered the sober splendour of the best Cistercian architecture.

The foundation of the Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Rueda in Sástago, Zaragoza, began in 1152 by the Cistercian monks of Gimont. Its final location is thanks to the donation in 1182 by King Alfonso II of the property and Escatrón Castle, on the banks of the Ebro river. With the completion of the primitive Chapel of San Pedro in 1202, the Monastery of Rueda can be considered inaugurated. In later centuries, the building considerably expanded its walls to form a classic medieval monastery with a church, sacristy, cloister, closet, chapter house, parlour, scriptorium, heating, refectory, kitchen, and chapel. During the Modern Age, the abbey palace and the hostel were also built, located in the monumental San Pedro Square. Monastic life was definitively interrupted with the confiscation of the years 1836 and 1837 and the public auction of the Monastery. Although the medieval section remained in the hands of the State, this did not prevent its looting and the transfer to other parishes of movable property such as altarpieces, stalls, etc.

The Monastery at the end of the 20th century was in a poor state when its restoration was undertaken by the Aragon Regional Government. The objectives of the action were outlined in the Master Plan, which has guided the works carried out for thirteen years. In this period the original units of the medieval layout of the Monastery were restored, as well as those of the Abbey Palace and the Herrerian Gallery. Work was also carried out on the restoration of the waterwheel and the aqueduct, and the open spaces were landscaped. In addition, archaeological excavations and petrological studies were carried out before any restoration took place. Since its reopening to the public, the Monastery has been a tourist hostel.

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