Sant Pere de les Puel.les

Nuns who lost their heads

Sant Pere de les Puel.les

This church was founded outside the walls by the Visigoths, then refounded in 945 by the counts of Barcelona as a Benedictine convent. The puelles were the strictly cloistered young nuns, who enjoyed a great reputation for their beauty. When Al-Mansur’s troops burst in in 985, the women cut off their own noses, hoping to avoid a fate worse than death; the Moors in disgust chopped off the rest of their heads.

The church was rebuilt in 1147, and when the nuns left in the 19th century their cloister became a prison. After a burning in the 1909 Setmana Trágica, it was given its fortress façade; after more arson in 1936, only the Greek-cross plan and a few columns and capitals remain (the best ones are in MNAC).

Practical Info

Plaça de Sant Pere

Hours 8.30–9.30am and 7–8.30pm (in theory)

Adm Free

metro: Arc de Triomf

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