Monastery of San Pedro de Rocas, which is unique due to the fact that it is excavated in the natural rock, displays none of the delicate Gothic structures nor the harmonious proportions of the Renaissance style. It is a very ancient, rough, almost primitive construction, which witnessed the first hermit settlements in the area.
The historical value of San Pedro de Rocas (St. Peter of the Rocks) is more anthropological than aesthetic.The presence of the first inhabitants here can be traced back to the year 573. According to the inscriptions on its foundation tablet, which is kept at the Provincial Archaeological Museum, its founders were seven men who chose this beautiful spot as a retreat to lead a life of prayer.
Later, in the 9th century, the place was rediscovered by the Knight Gemodus during a hunting trip. He settled there and was appointed Abbot by his colleagues. Legend or not, the fact is that there is proof of the existence of Gemodus, as shown in the privilege granted to Rocas by Alfonso V in 1007.
In later centuries this monastery, which was never very wealthy nor had a great number of inhabitants, came under the jurisdiction of those of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil and San Salvador de Celanova.
The monastery's church, which dates back to the 6th century, is one of the oldest known Christian temples. Its three naves were excavated in the rock. The ceiling of the central nave has an opening that allows light in from the outside. A pilaster serves as the altar. On the wall of the chapel to the left, a small area of 5 x 3.40 m, there is a hollow that supposedly contained the tomb of Gemodus. There, a fresco mural painting was discovered, dating from between 1175 and 1200, with images of the Apostles and a map of the world.
We can also see sculptured sepulchres with images of recumbent figures. On the floor of the church and the atrium there are numerous tombs excavated in the rock. The church was later expanded with the addition of a nave. The bell tower, designed by Gonzalo de Penalva in the 15th century, is located on the upper part of an enormous rock formation almost 20 m high, from which the place takes its name.An arch serves as access to a small area, used until recently as parish cemetery. It has a quadrangular layout and is enclosed by a wall. From here a path descends down the mountainside to the San Bieito Fountain, also excavated in the rock.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.