History of the Monastery
The original monastery is very old and dates from before 6C. It houses the largest piece of the true cross in a silver reliquary which is in a chapel reserved for prayer. Photographs are forbidden! The Church, the most important part of the monastery, was started in 1256. Like many similar institutions, the buildings have of course been updated several times over the years.
Inside the Church of San Toribio
The interior of the Church is austere, dark, and very quiet. People came and went while we were there; some lingered, just sitting quietly.
Cloister of the Monastery
The Cloister in the Monastery of San Toribio is peaceful and pretty, with only the sound of the water. Beautiful hydrangeas, geraniums, and roses filled the space.
Hermitages at the Monastery
On the hillside just outside the Monastery there are two hermitages. The lower one overlooks Potes to one side, and up into Fuente Dé on the other side. This is the Hermitage of San Miguel (St Michael). There is a second hermitage, on top of the hill overlooking the Monastery but we didn’t visit it.
Beato of Liebana
Béato of Liébana was a monk at the Monastery of San Toribio and there was an exhibition of his work in the Infantado Tower in Potes. His best-known work is a Commentary on the Book of Revelations by St John, written in 8C. There are apparently many copies of the work, illustrated, in libraries throughout Europe. The illustrations are breathtakingly beautiful! I want to see more of these illustrations and will hunt out similar volumes in the British Library and British Museum when I return to London.
The Monastery of San Toribio near Potes is a ‘must-visit’ in this area, and one of the sights which ensure you can enjoy a wonderful day in the Picos de Europa!