The Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes and Santa Helena church

Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes

The Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes (cat. Sant Pere de Rodes) was a Benedictine monastery in the old county of Empuries, within the Diocese of Girona, Catalonia, Spain, located in the present municipality of El Port de la Selva (Alt Empordà). In particular, it is located in the southwest of Port de la Selva, on the eastern slope of La Verdera, in the Serra de Roda mountains and close to the ruins of the medieval village of Santa Creu de Rodes and the castle of San Salvador de Merdera.

The monastery was built on the northern slope of Verdera mountain, on the site under the castle of Verdera, which gave it protection. Directly from the ruins of the old monastery, there is an exceptional view of the entire coastal sector located north of Cap de Creus, in particular the bays of Port de la Selva and Llança. To the northwest of the monastery, shortly before it, are the remains of the medieval village of Santa Creu de Rodes, including the Church of Santa Helena de Rodes. It is currently run by the Catalan Cultural Heritage Agency.

In early medieval documents, the Latin name of the monastery is Rodensis or Rhodes. The Rhodes version, already used in ancient cartography, has prevailed from the Middle Ages to the present day. In folk and cultural terms, it is documented in general terms both from the side of the same monastery and from the side of its surroundings.

Another evidence of multiple place names is the coat of arms of the monastery with two wheels, which indicates the use of the term Rhodes. Although Roda is used in some cases nowadays, often associated with the “castillization” of the cult registry and place names, its use is less common. The plural form, Rhodes, has been restored and normalized from the end of the Franco regime in accordance with the criteria of linguistic rigor compiled by the Institut d’Estudis Catalans and the historical recognition of the tradition.


Central nave

It is a large monastic complex consisting of a church, a monastery and various monastic outbuildings located around it, organized in the form of terraces, corresponding to the natural slope of the mountain.


The church has a basilica floor plan with three naves, a transept and three semicircular apses facing east. The central nave is covered with a cylindrical vault, and the sides are quarter-circle and rather narrow. All three naves are divided into five sections by four slightly raised toral arches supported by columns that unite a double order of superimposed columns with large capitals richly decorated.

Those that belong to the first level are of the Corinthian model, they are decorated with acanthus leaves, curls and some zoomorphic motifs, while those that belong to the higher level represent “geometric and plant motifs”.

All arches start from a high podium. The transept has two protruding arms covered with cylindrical vaults. It is connected to the three naves by means of semicircular vaults with imposts decorated with rectangular pilasters. On the northern arm, the tower and chapel of San Michel were built, which can be reached from the church via a spiral staircase. It consists of a nave covered with a cylindrical vault and a semicircular apse covered with a quarter-spherical vault at the east end. The tower has a jagged crown.

A large rectangular building with a jagged crown of the sacristy of the temple adjoins the western end of the tower and the northern facade of the church; its interior has been completely restored. The main apse of the church, covered with quarter-sphere vaults and more than two lateral apses, is built on top of the crypt and has a double two-story ambulatory.

Santa Creu de Rodes or Santa Helena (cat. Santa Creu de Rodes o Santa Helena) is a church in the municipality of Port de la Selva. It is located east of the ruins of the medieval city of Santa Cruz de Rodes, about a kilometer north of the Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes. It is a monument declared a cultural heritage of national interest.

It is a three-aisled church with a slightly trapezoidal dome facing east and a truncated pyramidal tower attached to an apse, currently occupying two floors. It has horseshoe-shaped arched openings and a bell tower at the top, added in our time.

The temple is the result of various stages of construction. The original church had a single rectangular nave, crowned on the east by a tower covered with wooden beams. In the 10th century, a trapezoidal apse was added, creating the shape of a Latin cross.

Coordinates: 42 ° 19 ′ 24 ″ N, 3 ° 09 ′ 58 ″ E

Address: Camí del Monestir, s / n, 17489 El Port de la Selva, Girona, Spain.

Opening hours:

Monday closed

Tuesday 10.00-17.00

Wednesday 10.00-17.00

Thursday 10.00-17.00

Friday 10.00–17.00

Saturday 10.00-17.00

Sunday 10.00–17.00

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