I had read of several interesting Romanesque Monasteries and Churches near Chantada, a town which is north of Monforte de Lemos and on the far side of the Minho River. It was an overcast day, but it was not cold and we wet off for an interesting day’s outing.
Romanesque Monastery of Santa Estevo de Ribas de Mino
A short drive took us to Santa Estevo de Ribas de Mino for our first stop. The Monastery is hidden in woods against a steep hillside above the Miño River and it had a tangible atmosphere. There was a smell of dampness and trees in the air and the site felt old, and indeed it is, built in the 12C-13C, but it also felt significant and certainly looked substantial. Oddly, there is very little information about it on the internet.
San Salvador de Asma
Suitably fortified, we set off to find Churches on the outskirts of the town, starting with San Salvador de Asma. This Monastery must have been an establishment of some importance because the buildings which remain, and which are attached to the church, are still considerable. (The Monastery buildings are in private ownership today.) Two noblemen founded San Salvador de Asma in the 9C-10C as a Benedictine religious house for both monks and nuns. It continued as a religious establishment until the 1830s with the ‘dissolution’ of the monasteries by the state. Today the church overlooks the town of Chantada but I thought it felt slightly uncomfortable with the additions, and neglect.
Santa Maria de Camporramiro
Our road took us further out of the town to the Church of Santa Maria de Camporramiro in a small village of the same name. Here I felt great sadness. Sometimes when I walk through a gate, or into a walled area, I feel as though I am entering another layer of time. I experienced that feeling at this church. Curiously, that feeling of a slippage of time is only in the place itself – looking at the photographs afterwards the sensation has gone.
The church was built in the 12C and it may have been named after King Ramiro who had a victory in battle over the Normans in this area in the 9C
I had had a wonderful day exploring Romanesque Monasteries and Churches near Chantada, and how fortunate I was to return to the comfort of the Parador at Monforte de Lemos – these were all unforgettable experiences.