The monastery of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil is one of the most prominent and spectacular of the rich monumental heritage of Galicia. It was built between the 12th and 18th centuries.
According to most ancient tradition, Santo Estevo was founded in the 6th century by Saint Martín Dumiense. With the privilege of Ordoño II, issued on 12th October of the year 921, the documented history about this monastery begins. The King gave to the Abbot Franquila the ruined and abandoned territory of San Esteban, with its groves, fishing and river banks, to build a basilica and monastery there.
The Church has a basilica-shaped floor plan, spacious and proportioned. It preserves the Romanesque front with three apses, being the central smaller than the sides, an unusual case in the Galician Romanesque. The facade of the church is from the 16th century or the beginning of the 17th. At the top there is a simple oculus that light up the interior and has a niche within we can see the image of San Esteban.
Inside the temple, the altarpiece of the chapel is a Renaissance work carried out by de Juan Angés in the 16th century. Among all scenes represented, we highlight in the lower section a double scene of the martyrdom of a man and a woman, which is identified with the double scene of scourging of San Vicente and Santa Cristina, as a tribute to the two added abbeys, San Vicente de Pombeiro and Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil.
On one side of the transept of the church you can see a unique stone altarpiece difficult to date, since some authors place it in the 12th century and others in the 13th. It is a piece made in granite, long rectangular shape with gabled top, quite unusual for that time. It represents Christ in Majesty with the twelve Apostles.
The facade of the monastery is of Baroque style, built in 1736. We can see two images of saints of the order between columns: San Benito and San Vicente. On top of these, two coats of arms. To the left, the one of the monastery with the nine mitres which resemble the nine bishops. On the right, that of the Congregation of Castile. The imperial one of Charles V finishes off the collection.References:
The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.
At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.
During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.
In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.
In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.
The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.