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The Ancient Spanish Monastery
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Brought from Spain and reassembled by William Randolph Hearst in 1925, this is a popular wedding spot.
Reviewed July 16, 2013

The monastery was very peaceful and beautiful. Walking through the Cloister I felt like I was back in Europe. I defiantly want to return and visit again to soak up more of the peace that swirls in the breeze under the arches.

2  Thank Ginkleberry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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101 - 105 of 183 reviews

Reviewed June 29, 2013

Very intriguing and relaxing....big contrast to brash surroundings. not at all like the hustle and bustle of Biscayne Blvd (next door!) and Nporth Miami in general

2  Thank thwf60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2013

I am so in love with this place! I have been looking for a venue for my wedding for about six months before we stumbled upon this little gem. It only took me about 5 seconds while I was walking around before we decided this would be our venue, we went into the office and booked it that same day. It is so peaceful and beautiful and unlike any place I have ever seen! Can not wait to get married here in 2014!!!

Thank Rachel R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2013

Our friends had their wedding here and at first I was a bit skeptical. Once inside I realized this place is an forgettable gem. I won't spoil the story of how the place was constructed in case you plan to go yourself, but definitely worth the trip.

1  Thank Mr_Review00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 21, 2013

We were in the North Miami area and decided to visit The Cloisters since we had never been here. We read the very interesting brochure that we received at the entrance. It answered all our questions about how this ancient monastery built in Sacramenia - a province of Segovia, Spain ended up in North Miami. What was once The Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux, a home for 700 Cistercian monks has now become a tourist attraction as well as an active Episcopal Church, St. Bernard De Clairvaox. No matter what your religion, you will admire the inspiring and beautiful architecture that you see here.

You enter and exit through the gift shop, naturally and there is plenty to view here before you even go exploring the grounds. It was interesting to see the black and white photographs mounted on a wall chronicling how the monastery arrived here. View the Spanish Strong Boxes, the Family Confessional, the Hymnarium and the Pope’s Cabinet from the 1600’s. I took several photographs inside and admired the beautiful hand-made rosary beads in the display case.

Walk through the 700-pound hand-wrought Iron Gates and you will find yourself in a peaceful and inspiring environment. Wander through the gardens and admire the many statutes donated to the church in the 1970’s. Nearly 200 plants and trees remain in the gardens today. Originally, these gardens were a nursery before the reconstruction of the monastery. Be sure to see the Abbot’s Chair, which is located across from the driveway at the far left end of the formal gardens.

The Cloisters is the oldest building in the US now listed in the Register of Historical Sites. As you walk through the Cloisters, notice the stonemason marks of trowels, stalks, stars, crescents and crosses carved after each stone was completed These were used for the purposed of identification. One sealed doorway led to where the monks slept in spartan conditions - on wooden pallets. Just to the right after the doorway, there is an 800-year-old Baptismal Font. After the Episcopal Church bought the monastery, the former dining room of the monks, which later became a museum, now is an active church. A small bell that called the monks to the dining room is still at the entrance. I opened the closed door and peeked inside the dim chapel. Two stained glass windows caught my eye and I later learned that they are two of only three telescopic windows in the world. To the right of the altar is a stature of St John. To the left is the enthroned Christ with seven candlesticks. There are two paintings inside the church, which were hard to see in the dim light. One is of St. Bernard, from the 1500‘s and the other one is of Mary and the infant Jesus. Notice the Visit of the Magi, a relief carving of white marble dated around the mid 1600‘s.

Other notables are the 2nd century Roman granite Cloister Patio Well, King Alphonso VII stature, the Chapter House, Christ the King Stature, Statue of Mary and French Alphonso VIII Statue (grandson of Alphonso VII.) Behind the statue is a doorway that once led to the stables and fields. Another doorway led to the kitchen. While we roamed the grounds, we saw a little girl with her mother and a photographer taking photographs of her. She looked so cute in her long white Holy Communion dress that I took a photo of her myself.

Expect to spend about an hour or so exploring the grounds. There is plenty of free parking in the private lot of the Cloisters. The peaceful setting will find you talking in whispers. Admission price is $8 for adults, $6 for Teens 13-18, $5.00 for seniors and youths ages 6-12, and $4 for Military with ID. Children under five are free. Light snacks are available in the Gift Shop. Services at the chapel are in English on Sundays 8am and 10:15am. A service in Spanish is at 12:15. On Wednesday, there is Holy Eucharist and a Healing Service at 10am.

5  Thank glomarrone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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