A visit to the Carthusian Monastery of Escaladei is a visit to the origins of the Priorat region. This is the place where it all began in the 12th century; you will embark on a journey to the place where monks were already making wine more than 800 years ago.
As you will see, this region is perfect for a life of contemplation and silence, which is exactly what the Carthusian monks who came from the French Provence were looking for. They visited several places until they decided that the perfect destination was at the foot of the mountain range Sierra del Montsant. It was there where a half-asleep shepherd dreamt of angels ascending to heaven by a stairway: the stairway of God, or Escaladei in Catalan. For the monks, the shepherd’s dream was a premonition.
It was in 1194 that Alfonso II, “The Chaste”, King of Aragón, donated some land to the Carthusian order, where they began the construction of their first monasteries, which over time would grow to become one of the most influential in the area. The Carthusian monastery quickly became the economic epicentre of the area by building mills, planting fields, as well as cultivating vines.
The main figure of the monastery was the Prior, after whom the Priorat region was named. Besides running the monastery, he also acted as mayor and judge for all the surrounding villages, which are now considered the Historic Priorat and which coincide almost entirely with the boundaries of the current Priorat AOC.
The monastery once had three cloisters and an important school of painting, until the confiscation of Mendizabal in 1835, when the monks abruptly abandoned the monastery and it was looted and soon fell into decadence and ruin.
Nowadays you can visit the monastery, located in the municipality of La Morera de Montsant. The official name is the Cartuja de Santa María de Escaladei. During the visit, you can see what the living conditions of the monks were like, with silence, fasting, prayer, austerity…
Some parts of the complex have been brought back from oblivion and ruin, including a recreation of a cell where they lived as true hermits, far removed from any worldly distractions. The rooms had different parts: an entrance hall, a study, a praying area and a bedchamber.
The visit continues at your own pace, passing through the church, the refectory and ending in the large vegetable garden that served as sustenance for the community.
• October 1 to December 15 and March 1 to May 31:
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
• December 16 to February 28:
10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
• June 1 to September 30:
10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
• General: € 5
• General with tour guide: € 8
• Reduced: € 3
(For anyone over 65 years old, students, non-tourist groups of 10 or more people).
• Reduced with tour guide: € 6
• Free: for anyone under 16 years old or duly accredited unemployed.
…and if you wish to stay in Escaladei, we recommend the Hotel-Bodega Terra Dominicata, located on an old farm that belonged to the monks of the Carthusian Monastery of Escaladei.