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:
Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.
King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.
The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.
It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.