|Abbey of New Clairvaux Reconstructed Chapter House|
The monks are of the Cistercian branch, which dates back to the 11th century. It was the Cistercians who originally built Santa María de Óliva, which still exists (mostly in ruins). It's about two hours away from Anchuela del Campo, a most lovely part of Spain.
It's an interesting story of how the chapter house (a chapter house essentially is a large meeting room) was purchased, dismantled and dragged over to San Francisco to molder away for years in Golden Gate Park. While in the park, the pile of stones was diminished not only by time, but also pilfered for other uses, such as: bumper stops for parking in the Park, retaining walls in the Strybing Arboretum (yes, I know it has a new name; I just don't agree), stepping stones at the Japanese Tea Garden and to decorate the Park and other less public garden spaces (ah, ahem) around the Bay. The stone pile also served as a site of worship for a while by Guru Baba Kali Das and his followers.
Ultimately, the monks were able to get their hands on the remaining stones and put them to good use. At this time, the medieval portions of the structure have been completed, but the purpose of the building has changed. No longer to serve as a meeting place, the chapter house will now form part of the new church for the Abbey. Donations gratefully accepted.
Building the Great Cathedrals in 2011. When we visited, all was quiet and calm.
Except at the tasting room. It seems that it was pick-up day for wine club members, and local wine lovers were bustling through to gather up their boxes. We didn't walk away with a full box, but we did bring home something for later.