San Paio Monastery


The monastery of San Paio de Abeleda, despite being neglected, represents an interesting collection within the Ribeira Sacra. Some authors believe it was founded in the 10th century (in the year 934, the family of San Rosendo appeared as owner of these lands). However, for others it was in the 12th century.

The confiscation of Mendizábal, meant the abandonment of the monastery, but the church remained a parish. In 1872 the House of Alba bought it. The parish is closed in 1972.

The Church, from the end of the 12th century, has a rectangular floor plan in the shape of a Latin cross. On the roof of the north side, it retains a small belfry without bells together with two figures, perhaps San Paio and Saint John the Baptist. It keeps the gateway and lost the cover. In the atrium, there is the former cemetery.

Inside, you can still see the capitals of columns, ornamented with vegetal and zoomorphic decoration. Two of them, are popularly known among locals as hunger and thirst. You can also access to what once was the sacristy of the church, which keeps some corbels. The stairs to the gallery are still standing.

Nothing remains from the small cloister of the monastery. It conserves an interesting facade that was made to embellish the access to the patio-cloisters. Due to its characteristics, it may have been created in the 14th century. It has a pointed arch with a unique archivolt with a trim decorated with flowers, supported by two columns with decorated capitals, with human heads that on the right and on the left, with a head and two snakes. The tympanum is monolithic and you can see on it the carved image of the Pantocrator sitting on a royal throne. He is wearing a long tunic, hugged his waist, shoes and a cloak fastened on his chest. His hands are open to the outside. Over his hieratic face you can see his royal crown and a halo. On the left, under the canopy with a semicircular arch, the image of San Pedro is grabbing the keys with a kindly face. On the right, under the canopy with a pointed arch, the image of San Pablo is carrying the sword and the book. His face shows an impressive seriousness and concentration.

In the surroundings of the monastery, the building where the prison was is preserved and in the vicinity, the ancient wineries.

To get there, we leave from the square “Plaza del Prado” de Castro Caldelas and must take the road towards Monforte de Lemos. Down towards A Abeleda, we will take a road on the left to A Teixeira. When you reach Santa Tegra, there is a sign on the right indicating the monastery. You can drive down to the place.

Don't miss!

Near this monastery is the town of Castro Caldelas, where it is possible to visit its important castle, which dominated the surrounding lands for a long time. Even today, if we visit it, we can climb its walls to contemplate the landscape that surrounds it.

San Paio de la Abeleda Church and Monastery

Information and contact


Aldea San Miguel, 66,

Castro Caldelas

32774 Ourense

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Free of charge


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