Monasteries of the Ribeira Sacra

The monasteries scattered throughout the Ribeira Sacra are among the greatest exponents of what the discovery of the interior of Galicia offers. A territory where the suggestive landscapes and historical episodes go hand in hand for legends to emerge.

Almost twenty religious buildings make up the route of the monasteries of the Ribeira Sacra. Places wrapped in history, art, traditions, ravines and forests that become a magical journey.

Where are the monasteries of the Ribeira Sacra?

The last kilometers of the riverbed of the river Sil before emptying into the Miño have sculpted for millennia deep ravines. A landscape that has served to delimit the provinces of Lugo and Orense and precisely there is the route of the Monasteries of the Ribeira Sacra.

Sil river canyon - javarman

Although originally as Ribeira Sacra only the banks of the Sil were considered, the historical and artistic similarities with the monasteries of neighboring Miño, have made all of them configure the route. The set presents a huge density of Romanesque and even earlier buildings.

Monasteries that they have the addition of being many of them surrounded by forests or to the edges of cliffs that make the landscape one of the great attractions of the itinerary.

«Upon my arrival in Galicia, the formidable forces of Compostela and the Galician landscape seized me in such a way that I also felt like a poet of the high grass, of the high and leisurely rain. »

-Federico García Lorca-

The list of monasteries of the Ribeira Sacra

The denomination of Ribeira Sacra already appears in documents of the twelfth century, to mention the many churches, monasteries and rock spaces where the Anacoretas lived in isolation. Today there are remains, better or worse preserved, of many of them. And among those worth mentioning are the following:

  • San Pedro de Bembibre
  • San Paio de Diomondi
  • Santo Estevo de Ribas de Miño
  • Santa Maria de Pesqueiras
  • Montederramo
  • San Pedro de Rocas
  • Ferreira de Pantón
  • San Paio de Abeleda
  • Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil
  • Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil

Visiting all requires a lot of time. Each of them deserves to have a good time and you have to have the slow movements through the rugged Galician landscape.

St. Stephen's Monastery - Iakov Filimonov

Nor should we forget that the views of these lands is one of the attractions of this route.It is impossible to resist making stops at the different panoramic viewpoints on the canyons of the Sil River.

Places surrounded by meadows, oak, chestnut forests and stepped slopess where the vine is grown. For that reason, we will make a selection of the most essential.

Monastery of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil

No doubt this It is one of the monasteries of the Ribeira Sacra in better state of conservation, among other things because it is converted into a tourist hostel. Another similar case is the Monastery of San Vicente do Pino de Monforte de Lemos, which next to the Palace of the Counts of Lemos, also became a hostel.

Monastery of Santo Estevo de Ribas - Trevor Huxham /

In addition to the church, the most interesting of the monastery of Santo Estevo are its three cloisters. Each of an era and artistic style: Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance, with the bishops being the most spectacular and oldest.

However, this is not the oldest part of a building whose origins date back to the sixth centuryWhen hermits settled here, they decided to isolate themselves from the world and devote themselves to pray in this rugged landscape of ravines and oaks.

Ferreira de Pantón Monastery

This is another of the great Romanesque jewels of the Ribeira Sacra. curiously since the end of the 12th century it was a female monastery of Cistercian character. However, his visit shows us more distant origins, since in the church there are very abundant decorative reliefs, which does not fit much with the traditional austerity of the Order of the Cistercian.

Ferreira de Pantón Monastery - Susanne Neven /

San Pedro de las Rocas

This is the oldest monastery in all of Galicia. It is a rock enclosure, excavated in the rock and which has the date of the year 573 as its origin. You have to imagine its founders digging the hard granite with the rudimentary tools of the time.

To understand how this place originated,next to him the Interpretation Center of the Ribeira Sacra opens its doors, where information is provided on the entire route.

Monastery of Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil

The location of this 10th century monastery is magical, since it is literally surrounded by dense chestnut forests. That is why it is not surprising that when Arab invaders or Vikings arrived inside Galicia, the local population chose this construction as an impregnable refuge.

Monastery of Santa Cristina de Ribas - José Antonio Gil Martínez /

More monasteries of the Ribeira Sacra

So far the most outstanding monasteries of the route, but There are other interesting ones such as Xunqueira de Espadeño, which keeps its Romanesque church and its Renaissance cloister.

It is also worth visiting the monastery of Montederramo, very transformed today but still retains one of the most valuable Renaissance churches in Galicia.

Video: A delightful retreat, a former monastery turned luxury hotel at Ribeira Sacra wine region (February 2020).