Sacramenia: Citizen Kane’s dream and other Spanish Romanesque Art nightmares (Part One)

Once upon a time there was an American multimillionaire called Citizen Kane, I mean, William Randolph Hearst …

He was willing to build an awesome house, full of priceless treasures …

The eccentric multimillionaire wanted an authentic Spanish Romanesque Monastery in his garden. Hence, he sent his servants to Spain, in search of a Cistercian monastery located not far away from the tiny village of Sacramenia, Segovia.

It was Anno Domini 1925 …

Anno Domini 2013: The brave Covetotop finds on the Internet (University of Florida website) the following lines about a very special building:

“New buildings go up in Miami every day, on every block it seems. Each one tries to outdo the next. But tucked away in a quiet North Miami Beach neighborhood is one building that has them all beat with its claim to fame.

The St. Bernard de Clairvaux Episcopal Church, known as North Miami Beach’s Ancient Spanish Monastery, is the oldest building in the Western Hemisphere …

Today the monastery is a popular spot for photo and movie shoots, wedding ceremonies and receptions. In the lush gardens and quiet courtyards, where monks may once have sat in prayer, brides in flowing white gowns pose for pictures and open-air parties are hosted under the stars.”

The so-called “North Miami Beach’s Ancient Spanish Monastery” is the 12th century Monastery of Sacramenia. It took a lot of time and a lot of money to put the Monastery stones back together in American soil. In 1953 Time magazine called it “the biggest jigsaw puzzle in history.”

Notwithstanding the above, that tourist attraction is not a complete monastery. Citizen Kane’s servants could not dismantle nor ship to America the Monastery’s church, which is still in its original, lonely and beautiful location: the countryside of Sacramenia.

Today Covetotop is paying tribute to Sacramenia (province of Segovia, Spain) and the solitary remains of its “Ancient Spanish Monastery”.

Here it is:


Sacramenia Segovia

Sacramenia nave

Sacramenia 2


Sacramenia 4


Sacramenia 6


Sacramenia 8


Sacramenia 10

Sacramenia 11

Sacramenia 12


Sacramenia absis

Sacramenia 15

Sacramenia 16

Visiting this breathtaking sacred space, I couldn’t help experiencing a strange mix of sadness and happiness, awe and shame …

Three miles away from the monastery is Sacramenia. This Castilian village is protected by a hill.

Hermitage on the hill

The hill is protected by a little Romanesque hermitage: San Miguel (12th century)

Sacramenia Hermitage

Apparently, nobody protects the old San Miguel hermitage …

Sad, tired and hungry, the daring Covetotop stopped by “Asador Maribel”, in Sacramenia. Certainly, this house is not a Romanesque or Gothic masterpiece. It is just a butcher shop with a humble but very cozy restaurant. They simply serve the best lamb dishes I have ever had in the old Kingdom of Castile.

Sacramenia Asador Maribel

I ordered a simple salad (ultra fresh veggies) and some “chuletitas de cordero” (lamb ribs). The good humor and sympathy of Luisa (this restaurant has two owners: María and Luisa), the outstanding ribs I had and the “Ribera del Duero” red wine I drank, it all made me happy again …

Sacramenia 20

lamb ribs Segovia

Sacramenia 22

I abandoned Sacramenia singing and dancing, ready to spend the afternoon exploring the plethora of medieval gems that abound in this area, so far away from it all. But the sad expression of some Romanesque monsters put me in alarm: Another Spanish Romanesque nightmare?

Romanesque monsters

To be continued …


About Covetotop

A Mediterranean blogger
This entry was posted in Art, Restaurants & local food and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Sacramenia: Citizen Kane’s dream and other Spanish Romanesque Art nightmares (Part One)

  1. Sarah says:

    Way to leave us in suspense, Covetotop! 😛 Looking forward to Part 2.

  2. Trish says:

    You have a unique skill of making me laugh… Not to mention your photography skill; beautiful photos, yet again.

  3. Dang – i read this at the wrong time: now i’ve got Romanesque monsters growling in my belly… Great post, Covetotop!

  4. harri8here says:

    The combination of Romanesque stone and that verdancy is visual nectar.

    I’m sorry that i’ve been such a stranger. Just tried to subscribe to you by email as i’m not always on WP but it didn’t seem to happen.

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