Monastery of San Salvador
Founded by San Rosendo in 936, it is the backbone of the commercial and social life of the region and a centre of education and culture. In its factory it expresses the periods of greatest splendour of Galician monastic architecture.
It is made up of a large church, with a Latin cross floor plan, with three naves of three sections each and a transverse one that forms the transept, where the great main altarpiece of Castro Canseco stands out, as well as the two choirs and the magnificent organ of the 18th century, today totally restored and fitted out for the celebration of great concerts. It also has two cloisters around which are distributed all the monastic rooms, highlighting above all the bell tower, which once housed the abbey chamber. This is the third building since the times of the founder and although it was begun to build in the mid-sixteenth century, the bulk of the building dates from the seventeenth century. The imafronte, solemn and classicist, was the first great architectural realization of the new building and with which begins the transformation of the old Romanesque church into a sumptuous Baroque temple. In it the images of San Benito, San Rosendo and San Torcuato, bishop of Guadix stand out.
As already mentioned, the monastery is organised around two cloisters. The Baroque or processional, of the sixteenth century, is immediate to the church, with ribbed vaults and medallions with busts of historical figures (Charles V, Philip II or John of Austria). In the 18th century it was ornamented on its external frontiers, in a heavily laden baroque style, by Friar Plácido Iglesias, monk and architect of Celanova, who is credited with the solemn staircase that connects the two floors of this cloister and gives access to the abbots’ tower. The second, popularly known as “Poleiro”, was completed in 1722. It is simpler, neoclassical and curious because of a balcony or “poleiro” that allows access to the cells located between floors and supported by large corbels characteristic of Galician popular architecture. The library, other staircases and different rooms offer interesting architectural solutions that turn this building into one of the most outstanding examples of the so-called Galician Baroque.