Cloisters are rectangular yards surrounded by a roofed walkway, normally the walkway is adorned with arched openings between the covered section and the yard. Cloisters are most commonly built in monastic or church buildings and the walkways are meant to serve for an individual’s meditation retreat, allowing slow, philosophical thinking as you walk around the yard.
The Cloisters in New York City, US
Located at a museum in Washington Heights, Manhattan, are four cloisters built on the exterior of the museum. The Cuxa cloisters were brought to New York in the early 20th century after the original Benedictine Abbey in the northern French Pyrenees fell into disrepair. The Saint-Guilhem cloisters were transported to New York from the South of France, and the Bonnefont and Trie cloisters were each compiled from several medieval abbeys and monasteries.
Jeronimos Monastery Cloisters in Lisbon, Portugal
Considered by some to be the best cloister in Europe are the Cloisters of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. The stone arches are impeccably decorated and carved in perfect proportions. The cloister was designed by the Spanish architect and sculptor João de Castilho in the early 16th century. The cloister at the monastery is square and includes two levels of walkways around it, each level with its own decorated stonework arches.