In the midst of a lush valley we find the Benedictine Abbey of Samos, which is still a monastery, the Royal Monastery of San Julián or San Xián. This temple, nowadays Benedictine, is one of the three monasteries that are still inhabited by monks in Galicia . The abbey was founded by Saint Martiño de Dumio in the 6th century, right in the midst of the Visigothic period. Its history is linked to the refuge of Alfonso II the Chaste before being crowned king of Galicia in 759, which dominated the monastery jointly with the lands. This temple, which is related to the large monastic centres of Toledo , has a grandiose Baroque façade reminiscent of the flight of stairs of the façade of the Obradoiro in Santiago de Compostela.
It contains two cloisters: the first, known as the cloister of father Feijoo, dates from the end of the 17th century, is considered, at 54 metres long, as one of the largest of its class within Spain . In the centre it preserves Moure's statue of the monk, who lived in this monastery. The sacristy is notable, from the late 18th century and early 19th. It stands on an octogonal ground plan, topped with a dome over pendentives and semi-circular arches. The second smaller cloister, known as the cloister of the Nereids, is Gothic in style and is dominated by a beautiful Baroque fountain in the centre. Life in the abbey revolved around this cloister, which is covered with a ribbed vault and still preserves a Romanesque doorway. For this reason the rooms of the kitchen, refectory and library open out on to the patio.
If we are interested, we can see the numerous frescoes located on the same level as one of the cloisters, by registering for the guided visits.
This temple's vestry, which dates back to the late 18th century and early 19th, is also particular due to the development of its circular design, with a dome on scallops, with carvings which represent the theological and cardinal virtues, and an entablature framed above semicircular arches, arranged in a circle and resting on pilasters attached to the walls. The monastery preserves the entrance door to the former church, from the 13th century.
This monastery, one of the most outstanding cultural centres in Europe during the Middle Ages, also has guest quarters, making it very suitable for those who want to get their strength back in a place which emanates peace. It even has a car park for cars and buses.