Ancient Spanish Monastery

The Ancient Spanish Monastery

Discover the captivating allure of the Ancient Spanish Monastery

Nestled in the modern surroundings of North Miami Beach. This architectural marvel, originally constructed in Sacramenia, Spain, holds a rich history that spans centuries, making it a cherished heritage site in South Florida. In this article, we will delve into the early history of the monastery, its remarkable journey to Miami, and the modern-day experiences it offers to visitors.

Unveiling the Early History

Step back in time as we explore the roots of the Ancient Spanish Monastery. Construction on this remarkable structure began in 1133 AD, almost four centuries before Christopher Columbus set sail for the Americas. The monastery, which comprises over 35,000 stones, some weighing as much as a ton and a half, was completed in 1141 AD. The cloister within the monastery stands as the oldest building in the western hemisphere. Discover how the monastery acquired its name, honoring Bernard of Clairvaux, a canonized Cistercian monk who resided there for nearly 700 years. Unfortunately, a social revolution in the 1830s led to the seizure of the monastery’s cloisters, setting the stage for its eventful journey to the United States.

William Randolph Hearst’s Ambitious Acquisition

In 1925, media tycoon William Randolph Hearst acquired the cloisters and outbuildings of the Ancient Spanish Monastery, intending to bring them to the United States. Learn about the incredible undertaking of dismantling the monastery stone by stone and the challenges faced during transportation. Despite setbacks such as a hoof-and-mouth disease epidemic and financial difficulties, Hearst’s determination prevailed, paving the way for the monastery’s future in Miami.

The Ancient Spanish Monastery

Ancient Spanish Monastery


16711 W. Dixie Highway
North Miami Beach, FL 33160


The Monumental Jigsaw Puzzle

Embark on a journey through time and witness the monumental task of reconstructing the Ancient Spanish Monastery in Miami. In 1952, two visionary businessmen, William Edgemon and Raymond Moss, purchased the monastery’s remains and began the intricate process of reassembling the stones. Explore the dedication, resources, and meticulous efforts required to complete what Time Magazine hailed as “the biggest jigsaw puzzle in history.” Marvel at the restored architectural masterpiece that stands today, a testament to their unwavering commitment.

Colonel Robert Pentland, Jr.: Philanthropy and Preservation

Learn about Colonel Robert Pentland, Jr., a philanthropist and prominent banker, who acquired the Ancient Spanish Monastery in 1964. Discover his noble act of presenting the cloisters to the Bishop of Florida, ensuring its preservation as a cherished landmark. Gain insights into the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida’s role in safeguarding and maintaining this historical and cultural gem.

Exploring Miami’s Modern-Day Monastery

Immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of the Ancient Spanish Monastery. Begin your visit at the museum, where historic Spanish artifacts, including a hymnarium and pieces of Crusade-era armor, await your discovery. Uncover unique souvenirs and mementos at the museum’s gift shop. Move beyond the museum to experience the monastery’s true splendor. Wander through enchanting gardens, where families picnic amidst the ivy-clad walls. Marvel at the medieval statues, intricately carved ceilings and columns, and the grandeur of stone arches and stained glass windows. Delight in the colorful coats of arms adorning the cloisters, and step into the sanctuary of the onsite Episcopal church, where sacramental stone tables and a majestic bell tower create a captivating ambiance.

The Perfect Venue for Special Occasions

With its awe-inspiring surroundings, the Ancient Spanish Monastery serves as an enchanting backdrop for weddings, first communions, quinceañeras, proms, and various special events. However, certain guidelines apply. While casual photography is permitted for tourists, those wishing to take amateur, student, or professional photographs at the monastery must pay a fee of $200 for every three hours on-site. This fee includes admission for up to six people, including the client and the photographer. To schedule a photography session or reserve the monastery for a special event, please contact the Ancient Spanish Monastery at (305) 945-1461, ext. 101.

Visitor Information

Plan your visit to the Ancient Spanish Monastery with ease. Located at 16711 West Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach, FL 33160, the monastery is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Operating hours may vary on weekends, so it is advisable to contact the monastery for the latest information. Please note that the last entry allowed is at 4:00 p.m. Guided walking tours are available during operating hours, excluding special events, weddings, or filming.

If you wish to attend mass, services are held every Sunday at 8:00 a.m., 10:15 a.m., and 12:15 p.m. The 8:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. masses are conducted in English, while the 12:15 p.m. mass is conducted in Spanish.

Admission prices are $10 per adult and $5 per student or senior. Parking is free for all visitors to the Ancient Spanish Monastery. For additional info and the latest operating hours, visit their website.

Final Thoughts

Miami’s Ancient Spanish Monastery offers a captivating journey through time and architectural beauty. Immerse yourself in the history, marvel at the meticulous reconstruction, and find solace in the serene surroundings. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, this hidden gem will transport you to a bygone era, connecting you to the vibrant cultural heritage of Spain. Visit the Ancient Spanish Monastery and embark on one of many unforgettable experiences in Miami that will leave you with lasting memories.

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