Monasterio de Piedra.
Near Nuévalos, province of Zaragoza.
Adults EUR 15.20, Children (4-11) EUR 10.45, Children (0-3) free, Seniors (65+) EUR 10.45.
|Monasterio de Piedra, C/ Afueras SN, 50210 Nuévalos (Zaragoza), Tel: +34-976-870-700. E-mail:
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Monasterio de Piedra Natural Park is located around the Monasterio de Piedra (Stone Monastery). The monastery was founded in 1194 by Alfonso II of Aragon and dedicated to Santa María la Blanca (St. Mary the White). So it is also called the Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de Piedra (Monastery of our Lady of Stone). Thirteen Cistercian monks from Poblet Monastery moved into an old abandoned castle. The next year the construction of the monastery started. It was erected on the plateau above the valley of the river Piedra, hence the name Piedra. After many extensions and renovations the entire complex was declared a national monument in 1983.
So far there is nothing which would justify an entry at showcaves.com. The reason is the nearby valley of the river Pidra, which was transformed into a green park with many trails. A 4 km walk which includes footpaths, tracks, stairs and bridges, which go up and down along the branches of the river. The rocks are limestone and the water of the river is limestone rich. The plateau is drained underground, it is a karst area, and the water reappears in the valley in karst springs. There it deposits the limestone forming vast plateaus of tufa and numerous spectacular waterfalls. There are numerous caves, karst caves, tufa caves, and man made caves.
The Cascada Cola de Caballo (Horsetail Fall) is the tallest waterfall and more than 50 m high. The rock on both sides is tufa, and a trail was cut into the soft rock. Through an amazing stairway, you can descend to the Gruta Iris (Iris Grotto). Near the Cascada Trinidad are the caves Gruta de la Pantera, Gruta de la Bacante, and the Gruta del Artista. The Cascada La Caprichosa is a so-called divided cascade. Thats a typical effect with tufa formations, the growing rock redirects and divides the water frequently. The Lago del Espejo is located at the lower end of the park and surrounded by impressive vertical limestone cliffs.
The monastery is also worth a visit. A guided tour shows the Cloister, the Chapter Hall, the Baroque Altar, the ancient Abbey Church, the Wine Museum D.O. Calatayud, the History of Chocolate Exhibition, the Carriage Display, the Refectory, and the Calefactory (heating room). The exhibition “The History of Chocolate in Piedra” tells the legend that a monk at the monastery was the first to make chocolate from the strange beans which he brought back from America. The first chocolate in Europe was actually produced here and soon spread all over Europe. The refectory contains an exact reproduction of the Reliquary Triptych altarpiece. The wine growing in the Calatayud region started in the 2nd century BC, obviously introduced by the Romans. At the end of the 13th century, the monks promoted the planting of vine in this area. Their wineries became very successful.