About Strata Florida Abbey (Cadw)
The abbey of Strata Florida – Latin for ‘Vale of Flowers’ – has stood on lush meadows beside the banks of the river Teifi since 1201.
It was established by white-robed Cistercian monks as part of a movement that spread like a tidal wave across the whole of western Europe in the early Middle Ages. Soon it became the most famous church in Wales after St Davids – a place of pilgrimage and a linchpin of Welsh culture.
There are unmistakable echoes of greatness among the ruins. The carved west doorway into the abbey offers an epic view down the nave to where the high altar once stood.
You can still see some of the incredible decorated tiles that would have covered the floors of the church. Griffins, birds and fleurs-de-lis surround the enigmatic ‘Man with the Mirror’. This 14th-century figure dressed in a doublet and close-fitting hood is reckoned to be a symbol of vanity.
Strata Florida, or Ystrad Fflur as local people know it, is the final resting place for generations of medieval Welsh princes. The great poet Dafydd ap Gwilym is said to be buried under a yew in the churchyard. No wonder it’s been called ‘the Westminster Abbey of Wales’.