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Sant Pere de Rodes (NO HDR) | by Jose Luis Mieza Photography
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Sant Pere de Rodes (NO HDR)

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It is in the municipal area of El Port de la Selva in the province of Girona, Catalonia. It has been constructed in the side of the Verdera mountain below the ruins of the castle of Sant de Verdera that had provided protection for the monastery. It offers an exceptional views over the bay of Llançà, to the north of Cap de Creus. Near the monastery Santa Creu de Rodes is the ruins of a medieval town, of which its preRomanesque style church is the only remains dedicated to Saint Helena.

The true origin of the monastery is not known, which has given rise to speculation and legend; such as its foundation by monks who disembarked in the area with the remains of Saint Peter and other saints, to save them from the Barbarian hordes that had fallen on Rome. Once the danger had passed the Pope Boniface IV commanded them to construct a monastery.The first documentation of the existence of the monastery dates 878, it being mentioned as a simple monastery cell consecrated to Saint Peter, but it is not until 945 when an independent Benedictine monastery was founded, prevailed over by an abbot. Bound to the County of Empúries it reached its maximum splendor between the XI and XII centuries until its final decay in 17th century. Its increasing importance is reflected in its status as a point of pilgrimage.

In the 17th Century XVII it was sacked in several occasions and in 1793 was deserted by the benedictine community which was transferred to Vila-sacred and finally settled in Figueres in 1809 until it was dissolved.The monastery was declared a national monument in 1930. In 1935 the Generalitat of Catalonia initiated the first restoration work. The buildings are constructed in terraces, given its location. Cloisters of XII century form the central part of the complex. Around them the rest of constructions are distributed. The Church, consecrated in the year 1022, is the best exponent of the Romanesque style and without comparison with others of its time. Detailing features plants with three bays and a vault. These are bordered by a double column with capitals influenced by the Carolingian Style. The double column support arches separating the bays. The columns and pillars have been taken from a former Roman building. The bay is splendid with large dimensions with an arch in the apse, this is continued in the two lateral bays. Under the apse is a crypt. The church synthesizes a number of original styles including Carolingian, Romanesque and Roman. The monastery is considered one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in Catalonia. In the western facade of the monastery is a XII Century bell tower, a square shape it is influenced by the lombards from the previous century. To the side is a defensive tower, that was probably began in the X Century but finished later after several modifications.

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Taken on October 9, 2009