The Monastery of St John the Baptist is located on the right bank of the River Narcea, and communicates with the village of Corias via a stone bridge dating from the 14th century. It was founded in 1032 by Count Piniolo and his wife, Aldonza. It reached the peak of its power in the 12th and 13th centuries. In 1763, it suffered a major fire which destroyed all the monastic buildings, only the church, the sacristy and the library being saved from the flames. The remodelling left its mark especially on the new, monumental and sober façade.
It is the most interesting monument in the borough of Cangas del Narcea due to its historical significance and the artistic quality of the ensemble. No traces remain whatsoever of the original Romanesque architecture. It is known that it had a cloister and a church with three naves.
The monastery was rebuilt in the 16th-17th centuries in the Herrerian style, but suffered a fire in the 18th century which led to the reconstruction of the cloister and the outer perimeter. The Corias complex takes the form of a large rectangle around a central courtyard, on the right of which are the church, the sacristy, the refectory and the kitchens.
The exterior façade is characterized by its decorative restraint, only broken by the bays (alternating windows and balconies) and the two side portals. The doorways are located below semi-circular arches and the first floor is decorated with Ionic pilasters, simple pyramids crowned with balls and the coat of arms of the Order, all around a niche containing statues.
The building of the present church began in 1593 in the Renaissance style, according to the canons of Juan de Herrera. The ground plan is that of a Latin cross, with a prominent transept, a broad chancel and a nave with attached chapels. The entire interior is covered with barrel vaulting with transversal arches, except at the intersection of the crossing, which is covered by a dome on pendentives, illuminated by a lantern. The interior portal of the church is divided into three tiers. The first corresponds to the triumphal arch portal itself with four Doric pilasters. In the second tier, there is a niche with a statue of the patron saint, also on pilasters. Above the impost, there is an oculus that illuminates the choir.
The last tier is topped by a pediment crowned with three spires with large balls, in the classicist Herrerian style.
In July 2013, the Parador de Corias luxury hotel was opened here, forming part of the National Network of Paradores.References:
The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.
At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.
During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.
In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.
In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.
The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.