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Ribeira Sacra e Canón do Sil

NATURE

Ribeira Sacra e Canón do Sil

The river erosion of the Sil gradually carved out the deep channel...

Ribeira Sacra

GEO-DESTINATION

Ribeira Sacra

The waters of the Rivers Sil and Miño flow and then create a divine environment, the Ribeira Sacra....

Ribeira Sacra Route...

Description

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

Ampliar

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 most important monastery is that of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil, a centre of power not only in terms of religion, as for centuries its Abbot was in charge of imparting justice and appointing scribes and customs officials.
As a legacy of the last 1,500 years, this part of Galicia contains a rich heritage that includes castles, churches, "pazos" (manor houses) and bridges. Its historical wealth also includes archaeological remains from the Bronze and Iron Ages, as well as others that demonstrate the presence of the Roman legions in this point of the Roman Empire's western frontier.

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 active tourism activities available go from trekking to rappel or canyon descent, as well as others such as paragliding, or routes on horseback or mountain bike.
The riverbank vegetation is comprised mainly of oak, chestnut, birch and alder trees, as well as broom, gorse and heath; the colours of the landscape changing according to nature's rhythm as one season gives way to another. Vines constitute the main crop cultivated in this region and are set out on terrace and often mixed with cypress trees. The region's wines, the ideal complement for its renowned gastronomy, are marketed under the Ribeira Sacra designation of origin.

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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