If you feel like escaping from the “madding crowd” of the city for a few hours, head for the Ancient Spanish Monastery, a relaxing and spiritual building from the twelfth century. Stop there, how could a monastery built between 1133 and 1141 possibly exist in Miami, if Columbus hadn't discovered America until 1492? And that is precisely the nub of the question and what is truly astonishing about this place. This monastery was actually built in the twelfth century, but not in the United States, but in Spain – in Segovia to be precise. It was inhabited by monks for 700 years, then fell into disuse for a period and then, in 1925, the north-American press magnate William Randolph Hearst bought it, dismantled it stone by stone and shipped it to this country. Unbelievable but true. In America it was sold again to some businessmen and the monastery was erected, an enormous jigsaw puzzle, and it was then opened to the public, both for the celebration of church services and weddings, and as a site of interest for tourists. As you go into the small chapel, stroll through the peaceful walkways and rooms, wander around the gardens and admire the architecture, you will find it even harder to believe the incredible history of this place.
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