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 Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.
The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.
The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.
The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.
Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.
Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.