The monastery of Sant Esteve marks the founding of the town of Banyoles. Consecrated in 812 AD, it is the oldest Benedictine monastery in Catalonia, and Benedictine monks lived there until 1835. It features different architectural styles due to the successive periods of destruction and reconstruction over the centuries, but the neoclassic style (18th century) predominates in the present building.
The main feature is the church, with a central nave and three apses, the bell tower crowned with a dome, and the magnificent two-storey cloister. Inside, there is the Gothic altarpiece of Our Lady of L’Escala (15th century) and the Reliquary of Sant Martirià (15th century), the town’s patron saint.
Guided tours of the church and the cloister are organised throughout the year, which also include the magnificent Reliquary of Sant Martirià, one of the most outstanding examples of Catalan Gothic gold work. In 1980, it attained an undesirable notoriety when it was stolen by the art thief Erik the Belgian.
If you would like to visit the monastery, click
For more information, www.museusdebanyoles.cat
Plaça de la Font, 11
Tel. 0034 972 572 361