The Palau de l'Abadia, as we see it now, is the result of a long succession of constructions and reforms that began in the 14th century when the abbot Pere de Soler gave shape to the already existing dependencies of the Monastery, where he himself resided It will be another abbot, Arnau de Vilalba, who in the 15th century ennobles the house with Gothic style elements and the construction of the small cloister that connects the different parts of the Palace. The capitals of this cloister are engraved with the abbot's coat of arms, which is also found on the first floor in the lintel of a door.

When the Monastery stopped hosting the Augustinian canons and, finally, the figure of the abbot disappeared, the building entered a period of decline. With the confiscation of Mendizábal in 1835, it became the property of the State and then of the City Council. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, it had multiple uses: from prison to barracks, school, housing, local organizations and temporary seat of the City Council. Despite the disadvantages that this entails, its continued use keeps it alive in the consciousness of the people of Sant Joan as an essential part of their heritage. Attempts to rehabilitate it go back to the beginning of the 20th century, with the first work promoted by mayor Jaume Bellapart.

In 1933, a large restoration project was presented, by the architect Josep Riera, but the Civil War destroyed it. The restoration resumed in the 80s and, more importantly, during the years 2009 – 2010.

Currently, the completely renovated Palau de l'Abadia houses the Tourist Office, the Center for Interpretation of the Myth of Count Arnau which is part of the Land of Counts and Abbots project, the Abadia Art Space, the permanent exhibition of Romanesque models, a tour of the Ripollès and a set of multipurpose rooms where a wide cultural program is set up, such as conferences, presentations and various exhibitions, the Abat Arnau de Vilalba room is an example.



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