In Spain there are distributed around twenty Carthusian monasteries, a series of convents founded by the homonymous religious order from XII century. With a very specific architectural layout and a very specific lifestyle, these ecclesiastical communities have been present in the Iberian Peninsula for centuries, although there is only one that was erected almost a millennium ago: the Charterhouse of Escaldai.

Built in the province of Tarragona, This monastery is not only the oldest of all those in Spain, but it is also one of the impressive ones that can be visited, since it is located in an environment as spectacular as the Monsant Mountains, one of the places with the most incredible enclaves in Catalonia.

Medieval Plaza de la Villa (Square of the Village), Arevalo, Avila, Spain

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The Charterhouse of Escaladai: almost a millennium of history

The Charterhouse of Escaladei
The Charterhouse of Escaladei

Located less than a kilometer from the town of Escaladai, this charterhouse was founded at the end of the XII century, when the king Alfonso II of Aragon, According to legend, he donated some land to the Order of the Carthusians to build a monastery and the monks decided to erect it in a place where, apparently, angels appeared ascending to heaven by a ladder, which gave its name to the convent: Escaladai or ‘ladder of God’.

In this way, the monastery came into operation in 1194, and for more than seven centuries it was a religious, cultural and governmental center of the region of El Prior, named after the monk who ruled the convent. The end of the community came in 1835 with the confiscation of Mendizábal, when the friars were forced to flee the complex; Two years later, everything was in ruins.

Argómaniz Parador.

The Parador in a Renaissance palace where Napoleon stayed

In the the 90’s of the last century, the area was rehabilitated to open it to the public so that anyone can have at least a slight idea of ​​how important this monastery was for the history of both the province of Tarragona and the rest of Spain, since they promoted the construction of the rest of the charterhouses.

Schedules and prices to enter the Escaladai Charterhouse

The Cartoixa d'Escaladei.
The Cartoixa d’Escaladei.

The Charterhouse of Escaladai has three schedules depending on the time of year: October 1 to March 31 It is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except for December 16 to February 28, which closes at 3:30 p.m. On the other hand, during the summer months You can visit until 7:30 p.m. Of course, it is closed on Mondays.

Very close to the city of Madrid, we can visit some very charming towns, such as Buitrago de Lozoya, Patones de Arriba or Chinchón.  The latter is not only part of the association of The Most Beautiful Towns in Spain, but also has a magnificent Parador where you can sleep surrounded by history.

The Parador inside a historic monastery in one of the most beautiful towns in Madrid

Regarding the price of tickets, the general rate is five euros, although if you are a student, pensioner or large family it will only cost you three euros. On the other hand, those under 16 years of age, unemployed or with some type of disability will not have to pay anything. In addition, they also offer Guided visits for seven or nine euros.

How to get to the Charterhouse of Escaladai

In order to get to the Charterhouse of Escaladai from the city of Tarragona, you must first take the roads T-11, N-420 and C-242, and then head down the road T-702 to Rambla de la Cartoixa in La Morera de Montsant.

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