The Ribeira Sacra covers an area of surprising natural and varied beauty. The region covers parts of the provinces of Lugo and Ourense. The zone is centred at the confluence of the rivers Miño and Sil, which have gouged huge depressions deep inside Galicia. The Rio Miño has riverbanks that are more cultivated than those of the monumental canyon of the Sil. Both of these rivers are matchless in their charm for both landscape and cultural experiences. The Ribeira Sacra is best described as a mountainous territory with pronounced valleys. The landscapes are characterised by very lofty slopes that top out at heights of between 500 and 900 metres. These slopes help to drive the numerous smaller rivers down to the main rivers of the Sil and Miño.
This geology favours the existence of climatic conditions which are characterised by high temperatures in the summer and warm temperatures in winter; add the low amount of rainfall and you get a Mediterranean microclimate. This is very different from the regular oceanic climate that the rest of Galicia receives. This is why this land full of vineyards (Bodegas), resulting in the production of some excellent wines.
The first settlers to the area left their marks on the landscape by engraving Petroglyphs and building Castro (villages).
The first wine growers were the Romans. It is said some of the first stone terraces can be dated back that far. The Romans dug for gold too, or more correctly by locals in forced labour under the Romans. You can see the remains of the mineral exploitation around Montefurado. Other Roman remains are the old roads that are still used. It is also said that some bridges were built by the Romans, but most of these were modified many years ago.
From around the 6th century monastic life blossomed, grouping the greatest concentration of monasteries and 'Romanesque' churches in Spain today. This started with the construction of hermitages in which monks 'retired' from life in society to dedicate themselves to sermon and holy sacrifice. These in turn caused the construction of monasteries. These institutions organised the religious, economic and social life of the region. This fact gave the whole region the name 'Rivoyra Sacrata'. (Ribeira Sacra).
If you were to list all of the places of worship like churches and monasteries the list would be over a hundred points long. So here is a very brief insight to give you a taste. The church of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Miño, the church of Pesqueiras, the monastery of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil, the monastery at Monforte de Lemos, the working convent at Panton, the church at Diomondi, the church at A Cova. Other Medieval monuments include the castles like that at Monforte de Lemos or Castro Caldelas.
The Wines of the Ribeira Sacra deserve a special mention.The monks improved and developed the cultivation of vines that were introduced by the Romans. The present day vineyards
Centuries ago the serenity and isolation of this area that brought the monks here remains almost intact these days too. It is one of the greatest appeals of the Ribeira Sacra. Today it is known as the heart of Galicia.
All of this can be explored when you stay at our house