This Church In North Miami Beach Is One Of The Oldest Buildings In The Western Hemisphere

Mª del Rosario Castro Díaz Mª del Rosario Castro Díaz


Built in 1141, the Ancient Spanish Monastery is one of the oldest buildings of the Western World!

Originally built in Spain back in the 12th century, this building is almost 800 years older than the Magic City itself. So how come it is now part of Miami? Gather round Miamians and let us tell you the traveling tales of the Monastery of Bernard of Clairvaux.

This Medieval gem now lies tucked away in a peaceful corner of North Miami Beach, but to get to us today it has been through some serious history. Constructions for the Monastery of Bernard of Clairvaux commenced in the year 1133 in Sacramenia, province of Segovia, in northern Spain and finished eight years later in 1141. Initially called Monastery of Our Lady, Queen of Angels, the building was reconsecrated to St. Bernard of Clairvaux in the year 1174.

For nearly 700 hundred years the Ancient Spanish Monastery served as home to a small order of Cistercian monks. But in the 1830s a social revolution saw the Monastery’s cloisters seized, sold and turned into a granary and stable. Then, in 1925, along came William Randolph Hearst, who purchased the monastery and shipped it overseas to this side of the world in more than 11,000 wooden crates.  Hearst soon went bankrupt, however, so the crates containing the Monastery stones were auctioned off to two Ohio businessmen who finally decided to rebuild the structure in Miami.

Since 1964 this medieval piece of art has been resting peacefully on its tropical Dixie Highway enclave. Nowadays, The Ancient Spanish Monastery is home to the Church of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, an active and growing congregation in the Episcopal Diocese of South Florida. The monastery is also a very popular spot for weddings and photoshoots, and judging by its historic and incredibly instagrammable halls we’re not at all surprised.


But leaving special occasions and worship aside, the Ancient Spanish Monastery is an absolute must on any history buff’s (or just anyone’s list really) who wishes to get lost in its peaceful halls and spend a day among the ghosts of Medieval Spain.

See also: Dive Into A Mesmerizing Mermaid World At This Underwater Art Gallery in West Palm Beach

Practical information

Mon-Sat 10 am-4:30 pm; Sun 11 am-4:30 pm

[Feature image: Instagram / @daguerrob.ph]