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Sunday, January 6, 2013

SacrAMENIA in Miami

Mike and I just loved this place. It is possibly the oldest building in America.
William R. Hearst bought a 1133 cloister from Sacramenia (Province of Segovia Spain). Because of the social revolution of the area in mid 1830's the building had fallen to disrepair. At the turn of the century Americans were richer than ever and having a hard time spending all their money. Hearst bought the cloisters in 1925 and it was dismantled stone by stone and packed in hay for shipment to the US. Unfortunately, it arrived to the US just as an epidemic of  hoof and mouth disease broke out in Segovia. The USDA fearing possible contagion, quarantined the shipment, opened and burned all the hay, and re-packed the previously meticulously labeled boxes in a random, willy-nilly, way. The stones were warehoused in Brooklyn for 26 years. Hearst's empire fell on hard times and one year after Hearst's death- in 1952- it was purchased by two Floridians, with plans for a tourist attraction.

 It's located on the north side of Miami: 16711 West Dixie Highway  (305)945-1461
 The statue is of King Alphonso VII, who constructed the monastery as a thank you offering for his success defeating the Moors in a major battle.
 The stones were part of a giant jigsaw puzzle. It took 23 men 9 months to un-crate, read the mason marks, and layout the possible  pieces.
 This statue in the "chapter house" is of Christ the King- 12th century stone carved by one of the monks.
It took 19 months and one and a half million dollars to put  the Monastery back together. Some of the unmatched stones (yikes!) still remain in the back lot.
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