The monastery was founded in 1326 by King James II of Aragon for his wife Elisenda de Montcada. Aragon was an autonomous community in northeastern Spain. The building was used by the Franciscan order, which consisted mainly of noble women. The Queen provided the convent with a series of privileges and rights. For Elisenda, a palace was also built in the monastery where she lived after her husband's death in 1327. Forty years later, she died there in 1367. The ruins of the palace were discovered in the 1970's.
During a deadly revolt (1640) the nuns were expelled, but later they returned. To this day, a small number of nuns still live in the compound. One of the charming rooms open to tourists is the queen's daily cabinate - the place where she studied, prayed, sewed and spent most of the day. The monastery was declared a national monument in 1991.
From 1993, the monastery became the home of the collection of paintings "Thyssen-Bornemisza." In the museum you can learn about the life stories of the nuns who lived here in the past. To see the furniture they used, the utensils, the sacred objects, the paintings, the sculptures, the documents and more. Today the museum presents collections from the History Museum of the City of Barcelona.
If you notice a broken floor, know that it was probably broken by a heavy cannon during Napoleon's conquest in 1809. The monastery was originally protected by a series of walls, but today there are only two towers and one gate.
You should also pay attention to the beautiful gardens outside the monastery and the fountain in the center of its yard.