The Carthusian Monastery of Escaladei

A legendary site
First Carthusian monastery in Spain
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Visiting the Carthusian monastery of Scala Dei is like visiting the origins of Priorat. The place where it all began back in the 12th century, a trip to the place where the monks already made wine more than 800 years ago.

The proposal is to visit the remains of the monastery and combine it with a visit to the wineries in the area, such as Cellers Scala Dei or La Conreria d’Scala Dei. For the more adventurous we suggest you take a hiking route discovering the Sierra del Montsant: Route through Escaladei.

As you will see, the place is perfect to lead a life of contemplation and silence, which is exactly what the Carthusian monks were looking for, coming from French Provence, were visiting various places until they decided that at the foot of the Sierra del Montsant they would find the ideal place. , where a half-asleep shepherd had dreamed of angels ascending a ladder to heaven: the ladder of God, or Escaladei. For the monks, the pastor’s dream was a premonition.

It was in the year 1194 that the Aragonese King Alfonso II the Chaste donated to the order some land where they began the construction of their first rooms that with the passage of time would increase until they became one of the most influential monasteries in the area. The charterhouse quickly became the economic epicenter of the area, building mills, planting fields and also brought with them the cultivation of vineyards.

The main figure of the monastery was the Prior, who gave its name to the Priorat region, and this apart from his tasks of directing the Charterhouse, also served as mayor and judge for all the surrounding towns, which are currently considered the Priorat Historical and coinciding almost entirely with the limits of the current DOC Priorat.

The monastery had three cloisters and an important pictorial school, until in 1835 with the confiscation of Mendizabal the monks abruptly left the place and this was the result of pillage and led to a rapid decline and ruin.

Today you can visit the place, located in the municipality of La Morera de Montsant. The official name is the Cartuja de Santa María de Escaladei and during the visit we can see what the living conditions of the monks were like, with silence, fasting, prayers, austerity…

Some parts of the complex have been recovered from oblivion and ruin and we can see the recreation of a cell where they lived as authentic hermits, oblivious to any worldly distraction. The rooms had several parts: hall, a study, speaker and the bedroom to sleep.

The visit continues at the pace that you want, passing through the church, the refectory and ending in the large garden that served as sustenance to 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.

Closed: Mondays not holidays, 01/1, 06/1, 25-26 / 12

General: € 5
General with guide: € 8
Reduced: € 3
(over 65s, students, non-tourist groups of 10 or more people).
Reduced with guide: € 6
Free: under 16s and duly accredited unemployed persons.

… and if you want to stay in Escaladei we recommend the Hotel-Cellar Terra Dominicata located in an old farm of the monks of the Cartuja de Escaladei.

>> See also Escaladei Route

⚠️ Due to COVID-19 visiting hours can be subject to change
Rambla de la Cartoixa, s/n, 43379 Escaladei, Tarragona
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