Monumental complex of Sant Pere de Rodes


At the top of the Verdera mountain range stands one of the most interesting complexes for discovering the mediaeval world. Here we find three elements that represent the pillars of feudal society: those who pray, in the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes; those who produce, in the village of Santa Creu; and those who do battle, in the castle of Verdera.

The centre of the complex is the monastery of Sant Pere, which became the most important monastery in the country of Empúries both for the significant role played by its abbots and because it was a major magnet for pilgrims due to the relics in its custody.

From its very foundation it enjoyed the protection of the counts of Empúries, who granted it lands and privileges, turning it into an important feudal lord in its own right. Its domains encompassed Santa Creu de Rodes, a village mainly dedicated to trade and craftsmanship, which met the needs of the monastery. Thanks to the constant visits by pilgrims, it thrived between the 12th and 14th centuries, boasting up to 250 inhabitants. However, wars, looting and the ravages of blighted harvests and epidemics eventually led Santa Creu to be abandoned.

The safety of the complex depended on the castle of Sant Salvador de Verdera, symbolising the warrior aspects of feudal society. The castle had been donated to the monastery by the counts of Empúries. Nonetheless, when they realised its strategic value, with such a commanding view of Cap de Creus, they tried to regain ownership of it, triggering constant confrontations with the abbots.

The outstanding element of the complex is the monastery church whose originality and antiquity makes it an exceptional example of Catalan Romanesque architecture. Built between the 10th and 11th centuries as a place of worship for pilgrims, it gives us a good idea of the monastery's golden age. The building stands out for the considerable height provided by an original system of pillars and double columns, and for the highly ornate capitals and the decorated doorway (of which little remains), the work of the Master Craftsman of Cabestany.


Monumental complex of Sant Pere de Rodes
Camí del Monestir, s/n
17489 El Port de la Selva (L’Alt Empordà)

Telephone: (+34) 972 387 559