Monforte de Lemos


Monforte de Lemos
Monforte de Lemos
—  Municipality  —
Sight of Monforte from the Cabe river, with the castle of San Vicente on top

Coat of arms
Location of Monforte de Lemos
Monforte de Lemos is located in Spain
Monforte de Lemos
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 42°30′59″N 7°30′58″W / 42.51639°N 7.51611°W / 42.51639; -7.51611Coordinates: 42°30′59″N 7°30′58″W / 42.51639°N 7.51611°W / 42.51639; -7.51611
Country  Spain
Autonomous community  Galicia
Province Lugo
Comarca Terra de Lemos
Government
 – Alcalde Severino Rodríguez Díaz (2007) (BNG)
Area
 – Total 199.5 km2 (77 sq mi)
Elevation 360 m (1,181 ft)
Population (2008)
 – Total 19,486
 – Density 97.7/km2 (253/sq mi)
Demonym Monfortino, na
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 – Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 27400
Official language(s)
Website Official website

Monforte de Lemos is a city and municipality in northwestern Spain, in the province of Lugo, Galicia. It covers an area of 200 km² and lies 62 km from Lugo. As of 2005 it had a population of 19,472. It is located in a valley between the shores of Sil River and Miño River, in the area known as "Ribeira Sacra" (Sacred Shore), being the capital of the area. The city lies on the Cabe, a tributary of the Sil River.

Contents

History

The area around the town has been inhabited since long before the Roman occupation, as testified by excavations of sites dating to the Bronze Age. The Lemavi, a tribe of Celtic origin from which the town derives its name, also predated Romanization, according to Pliny the Elder. The Lemavi were centered on the hill of San Vicente, then known as Castro Dactonium, where now are the monastery and the castle. It is believed the town was destroyed in the 8th century by the Muslim invaders. In the 12th century, the Count of Galicia granted the city to Fruela Díaz, of the House of Lemos, who had the town rebuilt over the ruins. Monforte thenceforth flourished as an agricultural market.

During the Middle Ages, a Benedictine community established on the Monastery of San Vicente del Pino. Numerous monasteries were built around the city in that period, in the zone known as Ribeira Sacra ("Sacred Shore"), including the area between the shores of the Sil and Miño rivers, where they also run through canyons.

Both the capital tower and the fortified city's walls were demolished during the Irmandiño revolt in the second half of 15th century. The rebels repressed by the Count of Lemos, the lord of the land, who made them work to rebuild the castle.

In 1883 the town was reached by a railroad, which helped Monforte to take place as a trade and communication center, due to its position as Galicia's entrance by train.

During the Spanish Civil War, the last republican Major, Juan Tizon Herreros, escaped to Portugal, after trying to reorganize the resistance. His predecessor, major Rosendo Vila Fernandez, was killed by the rebels.

In the next decades the rail station was partially dismantled, the communication center was moved to the city of Ourense, the train factories were removed, causing a period of economic depression. Tourism business is one of the currently expanding activities in Monforte.

Main sights

Nuestra Señora de La Antigua's School, an monumental school and church, in Herrerianian Style is known as the "Galician Escorial". The square in front of it was known as Plaza de la Compañía ("The Society Square"), when the building was occupied by the Society of Jesus, which managed the school until their expulsion order from Spain, after which the Piarists took it over.

Nuestra Señora la Antigua's School

Inside the school's church is a altarpiece built by Francisco de Moure and finished by his son. Over the altarpiece is empty piece of wood from which the Society of Jesus' symbol was erased, in order to clean every fingerprint they left on Spain. The School treasures also a collection of pictures, by artists such as El Greco and Andrea del Sarto. The monumental stair, featuring and apparent lack of physical support, is made in one marble piece, and supported on air by a game of strengths. The praying statue of Cardinal Rodrigo The Castro is placed over his grave, inside the church, and in front of an image of Nuestra Señora de La Antigua; recent works have found that the grave of Cardinal Rodrigo's mother is hidden behind the picture.

Old Mikado Machine, on Monforte's railroad station

A Railroad Museum has been created in the old train factory for the purpose of maintaining and displaying old locomotives and rail cars (including an operating steam driven locomotive).

Notable people

  • Pedro Fernandez De Castro, Seventh count of Lemos
  • Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro

Notes

  • Vázquez, Germán. Historia de Monforte. 
  • de Guevara, Pardo. Los señores de Galicia. 
  • Hermida Balado, Manuel. Lemos. 

External links




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