Travel in Spain, Day 9, Ribadavia

A misty start to the second-last day in Spain as we headed for Ribadavia, an old town on the Avia and Minho Rivers with its roots in Celtic and Roman times.

IMG_2759Ribadavia was established as the capital of the Kingdom of Galicia in the 11C by King Garcia I. By 12C the town was flourishing through the expansion of the wine trade, and the establishment of the Monasteries of San Clodio Melón and Oseira. The 15C Castle of the Counts of Ribadavia, the Sarmiento Castle, is still imposing at the top of the town. The Sarmiento Pazo overlooks the main square and currently houses the Tourist Office and the Jewish Museum.

Pazo Sarmiento, Ribadavia
Pazo Sarmiento, Ribadavia
Praza Maior, Ribadavia
Praza Maior, Ribadavia

A Jewish community started developing in the 11C, drawn to the town by the trade opportunities. The community established itself just inside the walls and was active in skilled professions as well as the wine trade. Ribeiro wines were exported to Italy, the Low Countries, Germany, and England and this community is credited with the development and improved farming methods. The Reis Catolicos ordered the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and at the time many converted to Christianity, or continued practising in private, or crossed the border into Portugal. The Plaza de Magdalena is in the heart of the Jewish Quarter and the Porta Nova of the 12C leads directly into the area.

Plaza de Magdalena
Plaza de Magdalena

There were as usual many churches and convents. The Church of St James, 12C, and now a small museum, closed.

The Convent of St Dominic (San Domingo) was established outside the walls of the town in the 13C, the second Dominican Convent in Galicia, but sadly was firmly closed on our visit. Apparently it was on this spot that the Palace of King Garcia I once stood.

The tower of the Church of Nostra Senora del Portal, 12C, and alongside the Convent of St Dominic.

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The House of the Inquisition (c.1510) speaks of the intolerance of the Reis Catolicos.

The House of the Inquisition, Ribadavia

But life in Mediaeval times was hard and just outside the walls was the Chapel of St Lazarus, 12C, which belonged to a leper hospital managed by the Monastery of Melon.

Leper Hospital and chapel, Ribadavia

Finally we went to look at the meeting of the Avia and Minho Rivers.

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You may be interested in
A visit to Ribadavia
Jewish Festivals in Ribadavia
A history of the Jews in Spain and here and here
Monuments in Ribadavia
Ribadavia and here

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