Moreruela Abbey is situated to the west of Granja de Moreruela, about 35 kilometres north of the town of Zamora close to the left bank of the Esla, a tributary of the Duero.
Before the time of the Cistercians, a monastery of the Benedictines already stood on the site, founded for them either by the Asturian King Alfonso III or by Saint Froilan, which under the patronage of Alfonso VII the Cistercians took over. The date of this takeover is often put at 1131/1133, which would make Moreruela the earliest Cistercian foundation in Spain. There is however an alternative theory which dates the establishment of the Cistercians here at 1143.
Moreruela was a daughter house of Clairvaux, and in its turn was the mother house of Nogales Abbey, also in Spain (1164), and Aguiar Abbey in Portugal (1165).
There are many remains of the abbey, although in ruins, particularly the Romanesque abbey church in the shape of a Latin cross 63 metres long, the construction of which was begun about 1170 and finished in the second quarter of the 13th century. The apse at the east end is completely preserved and has a vaulted ambulatory round a rectangular choir, with seven chapels as at Clairvaux. Also preserved are the walls of the 27 metres wide transept and of the northern aisle, and parts of the nave, once comprising three aisles and nine bays. Of the conventual buildings to the north of the church, the chapter house among others remains, although partly reconstructed.References:
Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went to the priest school. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up. Note, that there is no forest in the Faroes and wood is a very valuable material. Many such wood legends are thus to be found in Faroese history.
The oldest part is a so-called roykstova (reek parlour, or smoke room). Perhaps it was moved one day, because it does not fit to its foundation. Another ancient room is the loftstovan (loft room). It is supposed that Bishop Erlendur wrote the 'Sheep Letter' here in 1298. This is the earliest document of the Faroes we know today. It is the statute concerning sheep breeding on the Faroes. Today the room is the farm"s library. The stórastovan (large room) is from a much later date, being built in 1772.
Though the farmhouse is a museum, the 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Shortly after the Reformation in the Faroe Islands in 1538, all the real estate of the Catholic Church was seized by the King of Denmark. This was about half of the land in the Faroes, and since then called King"s Land (kongsjørð). The largest piece of King"s Land was the farm in Kirkjubøur due to the above-mentioned Episcopal residence. This land is today owned by the Faroese government, and the Paturssons are tenants from generation to generation. It is always the oldest son, who becomes King"s Farmer, and in contrast to the privately owned land, the King"s Land is never divided between the sons.
The farm holds sheep, cattle and some horses. It is possible to get a coffee here and buy fresh mutton and beef directly from the farmer. In the winter season there is also hare hunting for the locals. Groups can rent the roykstovan for festivities and will be served original Faroese cuisine.
Other famous buildings directly by the farmhouse are the Magnus Cathedral and the Saint Olav"s Church, which also date back to the mediaeval period. All three together represent the Faroe Island"s most interesting historical site.