Merging two eternally favorite attractions, museums and gardens, the world-famous Met Cloisters in Manhattan are an assemblage of medieval artifacts situated on four acres of rolling green hillsides overlooking the Hudson River.
Opened to the public as part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters have become an iconic New York tourist site and occasional film locale.
Built in 1938 by architect Charles Collens in Fort Tryon Park, the grounds consist of three chapels in addition to a collection of European art dating from the 9th to the 17th Century. They also boast medieval gardens, paintings, sculptures, manuscripts and stained glass windows.
The four ‘cloisters’ or galleries were brought to New York from Europe throughout the 1930s, their relocation financed by John D. Rockefeller Jr. who also purchased several hundred acres of the Palisades to remain undeveloped in the Cloisters’ exterior view. Other major donors included banker and philanthropist J. P. Morgan Jr.
In 1948 the grounds were used in location filming for Portrait of Jennie starring Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten. Twenty years later the Cloisters’ steep hillsides provided the setting for a climatic motorcycle chase in the Clint Eastwood film, Coogan’s Bluff.
The museum is generally open Thursday through Monday from 10am to 5pm and offers group tours, virtual events and a gift shop. All in all, an unequaled journey through the Middle Ages, only minutes from the city, awaits the most adventurous and curious of time travelers.
Photos courtesy of: Wikipedia.