Down the centuries, the royal pantheon of the Crowns of Aragon and Catalonia has endured the same changes of fortune as the Monastery of Poblet. Today both have been restored to their bygone splendour.
Monarchs were buried here from the 12th to 15th centuries, two fine examples being Alfons I the Chaste or the Troubadour (1162-96) and Jaume I the Conqueror (1213-76). But the magnificent pantheon we see today was commissioned by Pedro IV of Aragon in 1349. The ensuing architectural design was quite singular and featured two sarcophagi, resting on surbased arches that linked the choir and the deambulatory.
In 1835, a change in Spanish legislation led to the closure and eventual abandonment of the monastery. Soon after, the tombs were desecrated, their contents scattered. The vestiges were transferred to L’Espluga de Francolí and Tarragona Cathedral, where they remained until 1948, when Federic Marés completed restoration work on the royal pantheon. In 1952, the royal bones were returned to their former resting place and now lie in shared tombs.