The Ribeira Sacra region comprises the lands bathed by the Rivers Sil and Miño, in the area of inland Galicia where these two rivers meet. In the last few kilometres before it flows into the River Miño, at the hamlet of Os Peares, the River Sil runs along the border between the provinces of Lugo and Ourense through a deep canyon, thus creating an uncommon and impressive landscape that is the area's seal of identity
It was here in these lands, in either bucolic or rugged sites, that monks and hermits came to lead an ascetic life at the beginning of the Christian era. These settlements, with the passing of time, became flourishing monasteries from where art, culture and material progress spread out to all of Galicia. Hence the name of Ribeira Sacra (Sacred Riverbank), from which there is written evidence since the 12th century.
The Ribeira Sacra's relief is comprised of high plateaus and mountains with gentle slopes, due to erosion, that give way abruptly to the waters of the River Sil. The result is a canyon, formed millions of years ago, that is up to 500 m deep in some places. Due to the construction of several reservoirs, the river is navigable along a 40-km stretch. Catamaran cruises, one of the tourist attractions in the area, provide the opportunity to visit the most secluded corners, which would otherwise be inaccessible due to the difficult terrain. At the top of the canyon there are numerous natural viewpoints that "hang" over the river, making them ideal places to contemplate an unusually beautiful landscape.
The singular relief of these lands make them a privileged setting for all types of outdoor activities; and let's not forget about the nearby Cabeza de Manzaneda Ski Resort. For the less daring, there is a wide range of traditional festivals and cultural events, sometimes held in castles and monasteries.
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