Vina, California: Medieval Monastery

An 800-year-old chapter house from a Spanish monastery is being reassembled, stone-by-stone, at the Abbey of New Clairvaux. Bigger than you might think.

Abbey of New Clairvaux

7th St., Vina, CA
Abbey of New Clairvaux. I-5 exit 630. Drive east on South Ave. for eight miles. Turn left onto Rowles Rd. Drive one mile. Turn left onto 7th St. and follow the signs to the winery.
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Chapter House at the Abbey of New Clairvaux

The Sacred Stones project is the reconstruction of an 800-year-old chapter house from a Cistercian monastery in Ovila, Spain. This historic structure is being rebuilt at the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, California. This is the oldest building in the U.S.

[Jim Matthews, 11/05/2012]

The medieval chapter house, originally in Spain, was bought by superrich William Randolph "Citizen Kane" Hearst in 1931, who wanted to rebuild it on one of his California estates. He never did. The rocks sat in boxes for decades, then were given to the Abbey of New Clairvaux in 1994, which has been reassembling them at a medieval pace ever since. Hearst also bought another, even older Spanish monastery at the same time; it's been reassembled in Florida.

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