One Saturday morning, I woke up early and decided to spend the day venturing out into the city, further beyond than I’d ever traveled before. So two trains and an hour and a half ride later, I was at 190th street in Inwood (The Bronx).

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Fort Tryon Park surrounds The Cloisters, a Medieval style castle that pieces together “ecclesiastical and secular spaces arranged in chronological order.” The motif itself is very religious, so be prepared to see relics, paintings, and sculptures dedicated to worship. However, there are secular aspects, such as the beautifully embroidered tapestry with images of a group of men and dogs attacking a…unicorn. The word cloisters itself means enclosure and it’s meant to represent the closed off lifestyle of worshiping monks. Other than religious motifs, there are beautiful courtyards and gardens, all which evoke a sense of peace, serenity, and unity with nature. Enjoying a lunch among the old stone courtyard almost makes you forget that you’re really just minutes away from one of the busiest cities in the world.

 
You can view a short documentary about the history of the Cloisters here

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Outside view of The Cloisters

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The George Washington bridge peaking in the distance

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Religious relics are most of the exhibits you will see. Others include tapestry and textiles.

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A view of the courtyard

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One of the many chapels

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Another smaller courtyard

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Not just people come looking for serenity here

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There are beautiful gardens with plants that would have been used for medicine and magic 500 years ago.

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The plants here include Milk Thistle, Camphor, Ginger, Sage, and many others. Some are even labeled as “poison.”

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