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Tales of Wales November 17, 2007

Posted by mmonla in Architecture.

I spent last weekend in Wales and had the chance to visit (by complete luck, really) the Tintern Abbey in the Wye Valley. By no stretch of the imagination, it is the most impressive sight I have seen in Great Britain so far. Originally built in 1131 as the first Cistercian abbey in Wales, it housed a group of white monks that placed uncompromising value on poverty and favoured seclusion. That explains the location of the abbey, deep in the Wye Valley and far from any notable settlement. When Henry VIII disbanded the monastic orders, it was abandoned; left to decay and occasionally quarried for its stone. That is, until it was rediscovered by the romantics, among whom the poet Wordsworth and J.M.W. Turner himself.

Almost a century after it was built and though roofless and windowless, the abbey maintains an imposing presence on the landscape. Go visit it if you’re ever in Wales, and make a point of climbing to the devil’s pulpit to see it from high above.

“Good architecture becomes ruins, bad architecture disappears.” – Salmona

Tintern1 Tintern2

Tintern3 Tintern4

Tintern5 Tintern6



1. achau - November 20, 2007

Castro’s giving a talk on Rogelio Salmona tomorrow at McGill. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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