The monastery of Santa María de Moreruela is considered one of the first Cistercian monasteries built in the Iberian Peninsula

The monastery of Santa María de Moreruela was a monastery belonging to the Cistercian order located near the Granja de Moreruela municipality, in the northwest of the province of Zamora, autonomous community of Castile and León, Spain.

The abbey was declared a national monument in 1931.

The monastery is located in a place away from the population centers, next to the so-called Vía de la Plata.

It is considered one of the first Cistercian monasteries built in the Iberian Peninsula. The initial patronage corresponded to the heirs of Ponce Giraldo de Cabrera (Prince of Zamora) and had its economic boom until the 13th century. The boom resulted in possession of surrounding lands, expansion of the monastic network through the establishment of priories.

This golden period was followed by a series of centuries from the 16th to the 18th, characterized by the rationalization and saving of the resources obtained during the Middle Ages. The initial community of monks that lived in the complex was supposed to be 200, a figure that was greatly reduced in the following centuries to just over 20, at most 30. It is possible that they had a similar number of diverse servants including porters, shepherds, gardeners, cooks, etc.

There are many remains of the abbey, although in ruins, particularly the Romanesque abbey church in the shape of a Latin cross 63 metres long, the construction of which was begun about 1170 and finished in the second quarter of the 13th century. The apse at the east end is completely preserved and has a vaulted ambulatory round a rectangular choir, with seven chapels as at Clairvaux.

Also preserved are the walls of the 27 metres wide transept and of the northern aisle, and parts of the nave, once comprising three aisles and nine bays. Of the conventual buildings to the north of the church, the chapter house among others remains, although partly reconstructed.

Open for visits.

Address: Monasterio de Moreruela, 49740 Granja de Moreruela, Zamora, Spain

How to get to?

From Zamora 34 min (43.1 km) via A-66

From Valladolid 1 hr 29 min (134 km) via A-6

From Madrid 2 hr 54 min (287 km) via A-6

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