Monfero Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery dedicated to Mary, Mother of Jesus. In the 10th century on the site of an earlier hermitage a Benedictine monastery was founded, dedicated to Saint Mark, and supported by king Bermudo II. It was destroyed by Norman raids, but later reconstructed under Alfonso VII in 1134 in collaboration with several nobles, including Alfonso Bermúdez, Count Pedro Osório and the Counts of Traba, who endowed it.
The abbey joined the Cistercian order in 1147 as a daughter house of Sobrado Abbey, of the filiation of Clairvaux.
In the 17th century the Romanesque monastery was struck by lightning and destroyed. It was rebuilt between 1620 and 1658 in the Baroque style. In 1805 the church was again struck by lightning and damaged.
The dissolution of the monasteries carried out by the government of Mendizábal brought the abbey to an end in 1835.
The present building complex, a landmark of Monfero, is essentially that of the 17th century, constructed mostly of granite and slate on a site of outstanding natural beauty. The church, which continues in operation, is built on the plan of a Latin cross with a single nave and two side aisles, and has a distinctive and well-known Baroque west front with four enormous half-pillars and two half-pilasters with a chequered design of inlaid tiles. The Baroque main altar was made in 1666. The church contains four Gothic tombs of the de Andrade family. The former conventual buildings lie to the south of the church. Of the three cloisters that were once here, only a fragment remains of the Romanesque one.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.