It is estimated that in Spain there are more than 700 monasteries spread throughout the geography, and although all of them are worth visiting, there are some that stand out above the rest, either because of their location, their architecture or their history. The Stone Monastery, Located in the south of the province of Zaragoza, it has experienced a thousand battles throughout its nine centuries, although the most impressive thing about this convent is neither the construction itself, half in ruins, nor its ornamentation: but its Stunning surroundings and incredible discovery that occurred within its thick walls.

This historic complex located very close to the city ​​of Calatayud It is not located in an unlikely place nor is it particularly notable for its design, but the monastery is one of the most impressive places you can see (and where to stay) in Aragon thanks to the large number of waterfalls that surround it, and although it may not seem credible, it has a whole Natural Park around him that receives his name.

Argómaniz Parador.

The Parador in a Renaissance palace where Napoleon stayed

A monastery donated by the royalty of Aragon

Cloister of the Stone Monastery.
Cloister of the Stone Monastery.

In the 12th century, in full Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula, King Alfonso II of Aragon donated the Stone Castle, a Muslim fortress, to the community of Cistercian monks of Poblet so that they could found a monastery there, which was completed in the 13th century and in which the religious lived for more than 600 years. Located on the edge of the river that bears the same name, it is a great example of the period of artistic transition between the Romanesque and Gothic.

It was in use until 1835, when the confiscation of Mendizábal and it fell into ruins, but not for long, since soon its savior would arrive: Juan Federico Muntadas. The new owner (along with his brother) of the land converted the monastery into the tourist destination it is today: he turned the orchard into a garden paradise, the convent rooms into a hotel and made the most of the extraordinary nature that surrounds it.

The Natural Park of the Monasterio de Piedra

Waterfall inside the Stone Monastery
Waterfall inside the Stone Monastery

Around the convent is the impressive Natural Park of the Monasterio de Piedra, a huge hydrographic space that is full of extraordinary waterfalls, such as La Caprichosa or that of the Chorreadores, as well as peaceful lakes and streams that give the environment an idyllic tranquility as well as a landscape that perplexes anyone who observes it.

Permanent rainbow over Murchison Falls.

Safari to the most dangerous waterfall in the world, witness to the first female explorer of Africa

Walking the paths to the waterfalls, as well as entering some of its numerous caves or relaxing next to its fountains is a unique experience You cannot live in the same place anywhere in Spain, which is why this monastery is so special… although it is not the only reason.

The first hot chocolate was made in the monastery

Stone Monastery.
Stone Monastery.

According to legend, the first shipment of cocoa that crossed the Atlantic from Mexico ended up in the Monasterio de Piedra, accompanied by the corresponding recipe. The monks of beginning of the 16th century, Fascinated by this new food unknown until then, they were amazed by it, since in addition to being a great remedy to combat the cold, It was not prohibited by the Bible to take it during times of fasting. From this convent, hot chocolate spread little by little throughout the Iberian Peninsula and Europe.

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