The Monastery of Saint Mary of Carracedo is an inactive abbey and palace complex, now in semi-restored state near the town of Carracedelo. Founded in the tenth century by the Benedictine order, it lies near the Way of Santiago in Northern Spain.
The first cenobitic community, the Monastery of San Salvador, was founded here around the year 990 by Bermudo II, King of the Kingdom of León and the Kingdom of Galicia, with the principal aim of sheltering monks seeking refuge from the campaigns of the Moorish general Almanzor. This, however, did not spare the monastery from being destroyed by Almanzor in his campaign of 997.
In 1138, the Infanta Sancha, sister of Alfonso VII of León, helped rebuild a monastery on the site, calling on monks from the neighboring Monastery of Santa María de Valverde near Corullón, to help her. The burgeoning monastery gained eminence, and control of lands, and also housed a royal palace. In 1203, the monastic order switched to the Cistercian order, affiliated with the Cîteaux, also calling itself the Monasterio de Santa María de Carracedo. Undergoing further depredations during the Napoleonic wars, the abbey was closed in 1835.
The monastery is listed on the Spanish heritage register as a Bien de Interés Cultural (BIC), having been declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument in 1929. The now uninhabited rooms and cloister of the semi-restored ruins exemplify a variety of styles from the centuries between the foundation and abandonment, contain a variety of styles including Romanesque, Gothic, and neoclassical. The sparingly-decorated stony buildings have a haunting emptiness.References:
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.