Built in the Herreriano style, the College of Nosa Señora da Antigais often known as El Escorial of Galicia, being of the few manifestations of this style in this community.
It is forever linked to the figure of its founder, Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro, perhaps the last great ecclesiastical prince of the Renaissance in Spain, Archbishop of Seville, great benefactor of Monforte, and patron of the arts.
The college was a Seminary until 1773 and later a University, displaying up to seven chairs in a time when it was not yet established in the province. Originally run by the Jesuits, their order was expelled from Spain, through the Pragmatic Sanction of 1767 led to the elimination of any existing symbol to remember their existence in the country.
The church has an altar of wood carved by Francisco de Moure which could not be completed in his life and was completed by his son. On one side of the altar it is possible to observe a statue of Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro praying. This was created by John of Bologna and is highly regarded for its perfection and uniqueness. The statue, located above the remains of Cardinal, is confronted with a picture of Our Lady of Antigua. Behind the painting was another tomb which various studies revealed was for the mother of the Cardinal.
The school has two cloisters, and appears to be incomplete in its west wing. The monumental staircase, built from 1594 to 1603, is located in the east wing; its design is built on three arches, without apparent support, that support thirteen, nine thirteen steps each. The ladder is held because of a carefully calculated play of forces. The steps are carved from a single piece of high-quality granite. On the ground, drawing of the projection of the staircase can be seen, drawn for its construction.
An art gallery is also located there highlighting several works by El Greco. Foremost among these is a masterly painting of Francis of Assisi holding a skull. According to critics and experts, it is a work of such high quality that it matches or even exceeds that of the known works of the artist, constituting one of his crowning achievements. His San Lorenzo (Lawrence of Rome) is also a very popular work, being one of the few devotional paintings done by the painter on his arrival in Toledo, where it was purchased by Rodrigo de Castro during his time in the Inquisition.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.