Above the plain of Monforte de Lemos rises a small hill which overlooks its entire expanse. This was the site chosen in the 10th century for building what would subsequently become the current monastery. It is also said that this was the location for the well-known Castrum Dactonium, of the Celtic Lemavos tribe, mentioned by the historians Ptolemy and Pliny the Elder.
Construction of the current San Vicente del Pino monastery dates back to the 16th century, although there are references to it originating in the 10th century. At the time of its construction, it was part of the Congregation of Valladolid. It is neoclassical in style and has three levels, the most prominent feature on the façade being the Doric columns.
Inside the monastery we can find a courtyard which, through the use of channels and its gradient, was designed to collect rainwater for storage in an underground cistern to supply the entire complex with water. During the confiscation period, the monastery was abandoned and at the turn of the 20th century it was once again inhabited by monks from Samos monastery, only to be subsequently abandoned again in the nineteen eighties. It would later be transformed into a National Tourism Parador hotel.
The church boasts a renaissance-style façade with a transitional Gothic interior. Inside, we can find elaborate vaults and a Baroque organ, currently out of service. The high altar is also Baroque.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.