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Carboeiro Monastery
 
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Carboeiro Monastery

As an architectural work of the transitional Romanesque it is one of the most characteristic monuments of medieval Galicia, influenced by the Compostela artistic movement, in particular by Mestre Mateo and the style he developed in the cathedral of Santiago.

Its gestation was initiated in the early years of 10th century, 936, on the  propertyof a hermit named Egica, purchased by the founders of the monastery, Doña Tareixa Eiriz and Don Gonzalo Betote,  counts of Deza. In the year 939, when the construction is completed, the priest Felix is chosen as the first abbot of the community, and the convent is consecrated in the very presence of the countess, his nephew St. Rosende and the bishop of Lugo, Don Ero, remaining from this date under the royal patronage of Ramiro I of Leon.

Father Yepes refers to the founding of the Monastery of San Lorenzo de Carboeiro and its founders, Don Gonzalo and Dona Counts Tareixa, as follows:

"It was San Lorenzo in the past Carboeiro abbey built in 974 by Count Don Gonzalo and Countess Dona Teresa, as stated by letter of allocation, the aforesaid date being the year of Christ 936. It is founded this monastery in the land of Deza, on the bank of the river also called Deza, which is in the Bishopric of Lugo. In that place there was formerly a chapel that a man named Egica possessed, and had some estates around, al lof which were bought the Count Don Gonzalo and began to found the Monastery of San Lorenzo"

SPLENDOUR AND DECLINE:
The Abbot Fernando

The 12th and 13th centuries are the most glorious. Carboeiro is in 1131, under the direction of Abbot Froila an important abbey with large estates, power and influence.

Abbot Fernando, from 1162 to 1192, expanded the church. At this stage the monastery belonged to the "Cluny"order, and for a long period has a rich estate. Duringthe 15th century lawsuits, neglect and mismanagement, lead to the community’s ruin, and in 1500 by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, it is relegated to the status of priory, a farm for San Martiño Pinario in Santiago, prolonging its decline, including  a prison built for monks in 1794  and  until 1836, coinciding with tits confiscation by  Mendizabal,  and its total abandonment.

  • Inscriptions
  • The Church
  • Carboeiro: López Ferreiro

There are several known inscriptions in the Monastery, but many have disappeared. In the crypt there is the following:

ERA MCCVIIII KALENDAS IY / Corresponds to June 1st, 1171.

Once inside the church, on the south wall, on the right, at eye level, appears the foundation inscription.

The same Abbot refers to an inscription of a tombstone, now disappeared.

The translation is understood to be:

"In this tomb lies the venerable Abbot Fernando. Kings, barons, powerful heroes of the kingdom are witnesses to the purity of this customs and hail him blessed. He was illustrious and always a magnanimous friend of probity.”

Enjoy in peace Fernando the house of heaven.  February 13, 1192."

On the main facade, on the right, and much deteriorated.

It reads:

ERA DOMINI MILLESIMA TRECENTESIMA SEXAGESIMA / That is to say: Year 1360.

On the other hand, by way of curiosity, mason marks are abundant and varied in Carboeiro: there are feet, inverted feet,Bs, circles crossed by a line, Fs, etc...

Romanesque in style, its construction dates from the 12th century. The layout of the church is a Latin cross with three naves and transept. It is almost certain that the author of the Pórtico da Gloria, Mestre Mateo, was who designed the plans for this church - basilica, inspired by the Compostela Romanesque. Of note, the big base with three radial apses, the crypt under the apse, built under compulsion by the steep terrain and the plant decorations of the capitals. On the main facade, at its most dramatic, is the theme of the elders of the Apocalypse, although here they number twenty-three.

These descriptions are extracted from the book, "O niño de pombas” by Lopez Ferreiro, a reporter at the time:

Church: “ … a pranta d´ela componse de tres naves, un cruceiro, o ábside principal que se pode andar todo ao redor, e outros cinco ábsides máis pequenos…”

The nave: “ … a do medio ten de ancho o dobre daqs oturas, estaban estremadas por seis machóns de prant cadrada, tres de cada banda… A nave do medio estaba cuberta de artesonado… As naves d´os lados estaban cubertas de esas bóvedas de nervaduras…”

The transept: “… estaba tamén cuberto de artesonado que sostiñan catro arcos… a os estremos do cruceiro estaban duas capillitas cuase redondas…”

The chirola: “... na chirola, como dixemos, desembocaban tres capelas ausidales. A do medio, que viña á ser coma a cabeceira d´a eirexa, era un pouco maor que as outras e estaba adicada á San Benito. A d´a dereita staba adicada á Nosa Señora de Belén, e a outra servía de sancristía….”

Ornamentation: “... os capiteles son parecidos á os d´a Catedral de Santiago e con esto xa está Dito todo…”

The towers: “... N-a pranta estaban incruidas tres torres, unha sobre o estribo que stá á esquerda d´a porta principal, e duas a entrada d´a chirola antes d´as capelas d´os lados. AS tres se servían por escaleiras de caracol metidas n-a parede; e n-as d´os lados dá chirola, esta mismas escaleiras que daban subida as torres, baixaban á a espaciosa cripta…”

Small gallery: “ ... ocupaba casi o mesmo tarreo que o áuside principal, a chirola e as tres capelas ausidales. A bóveda d´a cripta estaba montada sobre as paredes e cinco recios machóns redondos. Tiña tamén tres capelas ausidales…”

Stone seat around: “..todo ao rédor d´a eirexa, arrimado á as paredes, corría un banco de pedra , que servía de zócalo e tiña matada a arista d´a beira c´un baquetón…”

Lighting: “… A eirexa estaba alumeada por nove grandes rosas caladas,  tres n-a fachada e as outras seis n-os dous estremos do cruceiro, e máis por vinte e oito, máis que ventaas, regandixas coma as que se estilaban n-aquel tempo…”

Doors: “… ademáis d´a principal, aberta por suposto n-a fachada do Poniente, entrábase n-a eirexa por outras tres portas laterales (…) Todas estas portas, po-la parte d´afora, tiñan as súas culunas e archivoltas e o seu tímpano ou dintel semicircular ca-suas estatuasa de santos. A porta principal, por suposto, era a máis adornada. Subíase a ela por cinco pasos de escaleira..(…) de cada lado tiña catro recantos e en cada recanto unha culuna;”

Paintings: “… aínda había outras duas cousas, que por elas mericía esta eirexa que todol-os gallegos a mirasen coma a meniña dos seus ollos. Refirome n-esto á as pinturas que cubrían as paredes d´a capela que servía de sancristía… (…)
 A primeira vez que estiven n-esta eirexa ( e xa hay anos) ainda tuven a fortuna de poder contemplar a ademirar as ditas pinturas que anque xa moy deslucidas ou case borradas, premitian por eso formarse algunha ideya do asunto que alí estaba representado….”

Location:
It is located in the parish of Sta. Maria de Carboeiro next to the river Deza taking advantage of a bend in the river and adjacent to the Coto Costoia, in an unexpected but beautiful place in the territory that was known as "Trasdeza" when viewed by cartographers from Lugo, as being on the other side of the Deza River.

Curiosities

According to Fr. Yepes, at the beginning of 18th century, in Carboeiro "They worshiped a thorn from Christ´s crown which was in a very good piece of glass carved into the shape of a spear head." It was stolen by the year 1550.

In 1965, a film called Cotolay was shot here, the Compostelan Carboeiro of the early twelfth century that helped San Francisco de Asis foundin Santiago his first convent  in Galicia. In 1973 it served as backdrop for Flor de Santidad by Valle-Inclan, directed by Adofo Marsillach. More recently it has been a recording studio for films as interesting as: La Ley de la Frontera(1995) by Adolfo Aristarain, Quart (2006), based on the work of Arturo Perez Reverte “Piel del Tambor”, Reliquias (2011) a TVG series and Piratas (2011) TV5, and customary set for renowned actors such as Sancho Gracia, Agustin Gonzaléz, Aitana Sanchez Gijón, Achero Manas, Luis Tosar or even Charlton Heston who  in the year 1999 was in the Monastery shooting a miniseries on the Camino de Santiago for Antena 3 TV.

Time / Prices Horario Monasterio de Carboeiro
  • Entry tickets:
    Single ticket: 1,50€
    Reduced ticket: 1,00€
    Special price for school group: 0,50€

    Entry ticket + make a visit:
    Ticket + visit 45 min.: 3,50€
    Reduced ticket + visit 45 min.: 2,50€
    Ticket + didactic visit 1.15 h: 4,50€
    Reduced ticket + didactic visit 1.15 h: 3,50€

    Reduction:
    Pensioners, children between 6 and 16 years old, students, large families and unemployed.

    Free entry:
    Under 6 years old, members of ICOM and special days on 25 July and 18 May.

    * Ticket office closes 30 minutes before.

    Contact phone:
    986580000
    638186674