The Benedictine monastery of Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil has its origin in the 10th century. It was first an independent monastery and after the improvements in the 16th century, it remains today as a priory dependent on the monastery of San Esteban de Ribas de Sil. At this time the cloister was improved and the paintings in the church were made. It was one of the most important monasteries of the Ribeira Sacra during the Middle Ages, as it is shown by the vestiges of the roads that are still kept. The monks spent their time cultivating chestnut tree and the vine. The confiscation meant the total abandonment of the place.
It keeps its Romanesque church of the end of the 12th century and beginning of the 13th. It has a Latin cross plan. The front is made up of three semicircular apses, being the central higher than the side apses. The facade is divided into two sections. In the upper, the beautiful openwork rosette stands out. The facade is flared.
The monastery has three simple archivolts decorated with chess motifs on the trim. The decoration of the capitals is mainly vegetal. The tympanum is flat. Inside, the nave is covered with a wooden roof gable which rests on a few pointed arches resting on corbels, which are decorated with geometric shapes and balls. In the central apse the monastery keeps Renaissance wall paintings, from the 16th century. We can see on them the Virgin and San Juan, accompanied by Santo Domingo, San Antonio and St. Thomas. In the upper section, there are Saint Lucia and Santa Barbara. The Romanesque altar is kept in one of the side chapels.
Little remains from the rooms where the monks used to live. In the cloister, only two wings with arches on a continuous base of great sobriety are kept. It was carried out during the improvements of the 16th century.References:
The Church of St Donatus name refers to Donatus of Zadar, who began construction on this church in the 9th century and ended it on the northeastern part of the Roman forum. It is the largest Pre-Romanesque building in Croatia.
The beginning of the building of the church was placed to the second half of the 8th century, and it is supposed to have been completed in the 9th century. The Zadar bishop and diplomat Donat (8th and 9th centuries) is credited with the building of the church. He led the representations of the Dalmatian cities to Constantinople and Charles the Great, which is why this church bears slight resemblance to Charlemagne"s court chapels, especially the one in Aachen, and also to the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. It belongs to the Pre-Romanesque architectural period.
The circular church, formerly domed, is 27 m high and is characterised by simplicity and technical primitivism.