LA RIBEIRA SACRA
In La Ribeira Sacra, the exceptional natural conditions have created an environment of extraordinary appeal and unusual beauty. The slopes contrast between rugged and gentle, and the narrowness of the valleys has favoured the development of a milder climate than what is typical of inland Galicia. La Ribeira Sacra benefits from less humidity, giving dry, sunny summers. It is precisely this climate that gave rise to the cultivation of grapes in the area, where exceptional wines are produced under the denomination of origin Ribeira Sacra.
Bearing in mind the combination of varying contours and climatic contrasts between the valley floors, the hillsides and the plains, the area's vegetation is greatly varied with multiple contrasts. La Ribeira Sacra comprises major forests of Atlantic species such as oak, along with birch and alders. Attractive groves of chestnut trees are also frequent. Mediterranean influences explain the presence of olive trees, cork oaks or madronos, contributing to a rich, diverse biogeographical heritage. These conditions shape unique landscapes, providing an exceptional tourist attraction for coming in contact with nature.
LA RIBEIRA SACRA HERITAGE AND CULTURE
This was the view of the hermits who, from the outset of Christendom, inhabited the banks of the Sil and the Miño, living in caves in environments of unique beauty.
From the 7th century onwards, a process of monastic colonization started over this whole area, throughout different periods, allowing the establishment of different religious constructions, forming a conglomerate of monasteries and churches that are unique to Galicia.
The monasteries of Santo Estevo and Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil, San Pedro de Rocas, Xunqueira de Espadañedo, Montederramo or La Ribeira Sacra is an area of inland Galicia that lies between the provinces of Lugo and Ourense. Geographically, it is located in a deep canyon carved out over the centuries by the River Sil, with a length of about 25 kilometers, between the districts of Quiroga (Lugo) and Nogueira de Ramuín (Ourense). From the north, and towards the western edge of La Ribeira Sacra, the Rriver Miño flows down, forming another spectacular canyon in its final stretch before being joined by the Sil and adding unique attractiveness to this natural site.
Ferreira de Pantón, which have lasted to the present day in an excellent state of conservation, are vivid examples of the splendour of an age and bear witness to a living relationship between human spirituality and a unique natural environment.
Today, these buildings stand as treasures of Galicia's monumental heritage and make the perfect excuse to visit La Ribeira Sacra.
LA RIBEIRA SACRA NATURAL AREAS
Travelling La Ribeira Sacra from Chantada (Lugo), to A Pobra de Trives (Ourense), or from Quiroga (Lugo) to Nogueira def Ramuín (Ourense), we can easily see we are in an area where nature predominates. La Ribeira Sacra and its geographical environment cover four protected natural areas, ideal for hiking, trekking or just coming into contact with nature.
The Canón do Sil Site of Community Importance covers a surface area of 5,914 hectares. This protection status combines La Ribeira Sacra’s most spectacular landscapes: on one hand, the Sil Canyon itself, from Parada do Sil (Ourense) and Sober (Lugo) to Os Peares. This area comprises two of the most priceless heritage sites: the monasteries of Santo Estevo and Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil, and the
area’s most characteristic landscape, with the great canyon formed by the River Sil as its main feature. In the area around the canyon, in Lugo province, we can find the Monte Faro Site of Community Importance, a mountain region which, at an altitude of 1,187 meters, is an excellent natural viewpoint for overlooking the whole Ribeira Sacra on its Lugo side and a large part of its Ourense side.
In the Montederramo district (Ourense), stands the Sierra de San Mamede and the Bidueiral (Birch forest) de Montederramo Site of Community Interest, located on the boundary zone between La Ribeira Sacra and the Central Galician Mountains.
Also, in the region of the A Pobra de Brollón district (Lugo), we have the Os Ancares-Courel Site of Community Interest, made up of the Eastern Galician Mountains and marking the frontier with Castile-León.