Audio File length: 2.16
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, my name’s Marcy, and I’m your personal guide. Along with MyWoWo, I’d like to welcome you to one of the Wonders of the World: the Ancient Spanish Monastery.


An Ancient Spanish Monastery right in the heart of Florida’s capital? No, it’s not a joke! The story I’m about to tell you will literally leave you speechless.

This monastery, dedicated to St. Bernard de Clairvaux, was built in the mid-1100s, near Segovia, north of Madrid. So, when I say “Spanish”, I mean that this monastery was actually built on the Iberian Peninsula. 

In 1925, the newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst purchased the cloisters, the chapterhouse and the refectory for the sum of $500,000. He had them dismantled them stone by stone, packed into 11,000 wooden crates and shipped to New York. Unfortunately, the shipment met with a series of misfortunes, and was placed in quarantine because it was believed to be carrying germs that could have caused a foot-and-mouth epidemic. In addition, Hearst ran into financial difficulty, and was forced to abandon the project.

The crates spent the next 26 years in a warehouse in Brooklyn, until 1952, when they were purchased by two businessmen, Raymond Moss and William Edgemon, who had the monastery rebuilt in Miami, where it was to serve as a tourist attraction.

In 1964, the monastery became the property of the Episcopal Church, which turned it into a place of worship. To this day, visitors can attend religious services scheduled in both English and Spanish. Don’t forget to take a walk beneath the pointed arches of the cloisters and admire the beautifully tended gardens.


Let me leave you with an interesting fact: Moss and Edgemon’s reconstruction of the monastery cost the extraordinary figure of around $20 million, and lasted 19 months, prompting “Time” magazine to describe the complex as “the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle”.

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