A visit to The Cloisters

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One of the great strangers of New York is undoubtedly The Cloisters, a series of medieval European cloisters, brought stone by stone to New York, and rebuilt in Fort Tyron Park, on the boundary between Harlem and the Bronx.

History of The Cloisters

Belonging to the Metropolitan Museum, which manages it and whose entry into the day allows you to visit them for free, they owe their fulfillment to the patronage of John Rockefeller, who bought the park, bought the George Gray Barnard collection, where most of the important pieces in the exhibition are, enlarged the collection with new acquisitions, financed the construction of the museum and then ceded the use of all of this to the Met and the park to the city of New York.

The main building was built between 1934 and 1939, based on the church of Saint-Geraud in Monsempron, from the XIII century, several elements of the exterior are original of this church, and in it Four cloisters of the French abbeys were included of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, Bonnefont-en-Comminges, the convent of Trie-sur-Baïse and the Benedictine monastery of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, exhibiting Romanesque or Gothic pieces inside.

The church of San Martín de Fuentidueña is added to The Cloisters

Later, in the 1954 year and after long conversations with the Spanish government, The Cloisters came to one of the greatest jewels in the collection: The apse of the church of San Martín de Fuentidueña, a Romanesque church of 1175-1200. Due to the complexity of the works to mount the apse in The Cloisters, it was not possible to enjoy this piece until 7 years later, in 1961. The fresco that we can see in the dome of this apse is not from Fuentidueña, but from the Spanish church of Sant Joan de Tredò, and it is estimated that it was painted between 1130 and 1150.

Interior of The Cloisters
Interior of The Cloisters

The medieval atmosphere of The Cloisters

All in the Cloisters tries to emulate the medieval atmosphere of the Churches of the interior: The gardens of the cloisters were created following plans of the time, and peace and quietness is breathed throughout the museum. Without a doubt, a great getaway to escape the noise of New York and enjoy the charms of the Middle Ages in this city.

The trip, an experience

Also, the trip there alone is worth it. If you want to visit The Cloisters, I recommend taking the M4 bus up to the Met, on Madison Avenue, and going by bus to the last stop, which is the main entrance of this museum. On the way we cross all of Harlem, and we can enjoy the different neighborhoods that form what we know as Harlem and pass by one of the most famous hospitals in New York, the prestigious hospital of Mount Sinai. This bus tour to get from the Met to the museum will take you from the Met for about an hour, although it will depend on the traffic that is currently on the street.

Interior of The Cloisters
Interior of The Cloisters

Opening times

Open every day of the week:

  • March-October: 10 am-5: 15 pm
  • November-February: 10 am-4: 45 pm

Closed Thanksgiving, December 25 and January 1.

Rates (year 2017)

Entry: $ 25

As in the Met, the fee you are asked for is a suggested fee. With the entrance to the Metropolitan Museum or the Met Breuer Museum you can have free access on the same day to The Cloisters, and vice versa, with the entrance to The Cloisters you have the right to free access to the Met or the Met Breuer.

How to get to The Cloisters?

The only public transport that arrives at The Cloisters is the M4 bus, which has its final stop at the museum door. For those who want to go faster, you can go by metro, line A, to the 181th street stop and then take the bus to The Cloisters.

Location map of The Cloisters

Further information

For more information about The Cloisters, know the activities that take place in the museum, .... I recommend you visit official website of The Cloisters, in English.

Other routes and places of interest nearby