Portomarín is one of the towns that are part of the Ribeira Sacra in the province of Lugo. There are about 1650 inhabitants. The village was born by the banks of the river Miño and had two neighbourhoods, San Juan and San Pedro.
In 1963, when the dam of Belesar was built, the old Portomarín was flooded by the waters of the river Miño. The village was rebuilt on a hillock, having the new layout and some medieval taste with cobbled streets and houses with arcades. For this reason, the Romanesque church of San Juan and that of San Pedro, as well as other buildings of importance, were moved to the new site stone by stone.
The village acquires great importance during the Middle Ages, as a place of transit for pilgrims walking towards Santiago. Here came the Knights of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem in the 12th century to take charge of the hospital and began to built the Church of San Juan, which dominates the square of the village.
The Church of San Juan, currently of San Nicolás, looks like a church-fortress with towers and battlements. It is a work made at the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th century. Its building is linked to some contributor of Master Mateo. It has a single nave and a semicircular apse. It highlights its main facade with a beautiful rose window and the front page, with three archivolts. One of them depicts the twenty-four elders of the Apocalypse. In the tympanum we can see the figure of the Pantocrator.
We passed ahead of the south gate of the church, and at the end of the street we can see a pilgrims hostel. Down the street that passes through the left side, we reach the Church of San Pedro. From Romanesque origin, it retains the main façade, with a semicircular arch and a tympanum with two lobes on two quoins with bull heads.
Another thing that cannot be missed in the village is one of the arches of the Roman bridge of the second century, which was saved from the waters of the dam and, nowadays, it can be seen on one of the ends of the new bridge.
When the waters of the dam of Belesar come down, we can see the old bridge that crossed the river and the foundations of the old Portomarin.
We must try their famous almond cake and its wines with denomination of origin of Ribeira Sacra.
In Easter, its famous liquor festivity is celebrated.