The construction of the monastery of Sant Cugat d’Octavià dates back to the 9th century, when Benedictine monasticism expanded throughout Catalonia under the impetus of the French monarchy. During the 10th and 11th centuries, the Sant Cugat community grew steadily and gained strong political and spiritual influence within the diocese and county of Barcelona. In 1931, it was declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest.
The cloister situated inside the monastery contains one of the most remarkable set of Romanesque sculptures in Catalonia and of Romanesque style in general. We know that it was built in 1190. It even retains the signature of the master Arnau Cadell, which shows that he stayed in the monastery.
The Royal Monastery consists of the church with the bell tower, the cloister and the outbuildings. In front of the church is the Abbey Palace. Other elements of the building ensemble are the Portal Major and the ‘Cruz de Término’ (territorial cross). Surrounding the compound, to the south and east, stands the wall of the old rampart.
In Sant Cugat, you will find a museum of new and modern art - a decentralized museum with premises in different parts of the city which make up the network of museums of Sant Cugat. Its main location is the Monastery Museum. This space hosts a permanent exhibition that explains the architectural evolution of the Monastery, as well as the most significant aspects of the Benedictine community lifestyle. In addition, you will find temporary exhibitions on different themes.
The cloister inside the monastery contains one of the most remarkable set of Romanesque sculptures in Catalonia and of Romanesque style in general. The 144 capitals that make up the courtyard are works of great artistic value and careful details. They are the work of master Arnau Cadell as you can see in the inscription where he is identified as the author of the cloister –quite unusual for medieval times.
Photography: Manè Espinosa / Sant Cugat del Vallès