The Ribeira Sacra is one of the most distinctive areas in Spain. Here you can find a landscape of natural forests, deep river canyons, traditional villages, an abundance of Romanesque monuments and steeply terraced vineyards cultivating the Mencia grape. In the heart of the Ribeira Sacra region, a uniquely beautiful natural area in inland Galicia that is home to the Miño and Sil rivers, concealed within a great cloak of green woods, stands Santo Estevo Monastery, which has been converted into a beautiful Parador. The monastery’s origins are believed to date back to the 6th and 7th centuries. It is easy to distinguish elements of the baroque and Romanesque styles and the building has three incredible cloisters: one Romanesque, one Gothic and the third Renaissance, where you can spend a peaceful evening in a subdued atmosphere with the soft sounds of religious music as an accompaniment.
Your guided visit will also include Monforte de Lemos, a town that was devoloped under the Romans, taken over by the Celts and then destroyed in the eighth century by the Moors. Monforte re-emerged in importance with the arrival of a Benedictine community which had been given the task of repopulating the territory and in particular to expand Christianity. An important Jewish colony also established itself here dedicated to the trade of silk, silver, leather and cloth. Monforte’s Jewish community with their synagogue, ritual bath house and businesses was one of the biggest in Galicia until the expulsion of 1492. They were mainly involved in the commerce of silks, cloth and silverware with the Gaibores being one of the most important families. Unlike many other towns in Spain the Jews of Monforte were never confined to one area and were free to live amongst the general population.