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Spanish Monastery

Miami boasts the oldest building in the Western Hemisphere - but there is a catch. Dating from 1141 the Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux in North Miami Beach is a hugely popular tourist attraction, although not quite indigenous to the area. The monastery stood originally in Segovia in Spain, but in the early 1950s the medieval building was bought by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, disassembled, shipped to Miami, and rebuilt on its present site. Time Magazine called the project the 'biggest jigsaw puzzle in history'. The fascinating medieval complex is a joy to explore, and the fact that it seems out of place in Florida only makes it more magical. Guided tours are available for groups of 15 or more.

Address: 16711 West Dixie Highway

E-mail: spanishmonastery@bellsouth.net

Website: www.spanishmonastery.com

Telephone: (305) 945 1461

Opening times: Monday to Saturday 10am-4:30pm; Sunday 11am-4:30pm. The monastery sometimes closes for special events so it is best to phone ahead to confirm they are open.

Admission: $8 (adults), $4 (children 6-12), Free for children under 5, other concessions available.