Monastery de les Avellanes, Lleida, Spain

chapel monister avellanes lleida
This small round window is a charming break in the imposing, thick, wall of the chapel.

The Monastery of the Avellanes (hazel nut trees-which were grown on the monastery grounds) is a bit of an oddity among our many visits to churches and monasteries all over the world. Yes, a good part of the original 12th Century monastery is there, including this charming window portrait of Saint Lawrence in the chapel, but the whole thing now has been transformed into a hotel, restaurant, and conference center. Which, come to think of it, is not too far in spirit from the original concept of monasteries as working commercial enterprises which supported the monks who lived and worked and prayed there.

window chapel monister avellanes lleida
I think I like the chapel's flat, dimensionless, window art of the Romanesque period better than most other styles. Piling saints on top of each other is how the did perspective. Before they knew how to paint perspective.

The place features a very nice restaurant, where we were treated to a lovely lunch, courtesy of the tourism bureau of the province of Lleida. Lleida is one of the provinces that makes up Catalunya in northeastern Spain, in case you were wondering.

I went on a whirlwind three day tour of the province with the tourist bureau in April 2015, and while I appreciated the lunch, I certainly appreciated more the chance to see yet another bit of Spain's rich cultural history.

capital cloister monister avellanes lleida
These medieval monasteries had the most interesting, fantastic, carvings on the capitals of the cloisters. Strange animals, angels, deformed humans, all have their place.
stonemasons chop chapel monister avellanes lleida
The stonemasons who built the chapel left their mark on various stones around the walls.

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