Jupiter God loved Galicia for its beauty and he made the river Miño in Galicia to have her love, but his wife Juno felt so jealous that she decided to cut Galicia with a sword to make it uglier and this cuts are the canyons in the rivers Miño and Sil in Ribeira Sacra. Jupiter was really angry and as a punishment for his wife, she was condemned to roam the same foothills that she made at the cut. Jupiter soon forgives his wife and they meet again in the heart of Ribeira Sacra, Os Peares (really close to ABA SOLLEIRA), where the rivers Sil and Bubal find the river Miño and the three begin to flow together. Galicia is such a beautiful land that even the wife of God felt jealous and thanks to her reaction of fury when
cutting the earth the canyons were born in the river Miño and Sil, in reality the terraces that give soil to the vines.
Primera referencia a RIBEIRA SACRA
The first historical reference of Ribeira Sacra was found in the Monastery of Montederramo in the 12th century where Teresa of Portugal writes “Rivoyra Sacrata” in reference to this land, probably related to the high density of monasteries and meaning “sacred shore”.
Before Romans Galicia was populated by the Celtics and is still in many cultural aspects today as music (pipes), traditions, legends … The Celtics worshiped the Sun and today we still do it in ABA SOLLEIRA which means in Galician language ” Sunny foothills “simply showing the importance of sun exposure to the vineyards in these Atlantic weather conditions.
RIBEIRA SACRA y el Imperio Romano
The Romans settled in Galicia, in fact considering “Finis Terrae” (the end of the earth) the Atlantic coast. In those times in Galicia, the mining industry was really important. One of the most important references in the main city of the province of Ribeira Sacra, Ourense (name that comes from the Latin word “aurum” meaning gold). In the region of Ribeira Sacra, the foothills of the canyon are full of terraces, the oldest were made in Roman times and the oldest viticulture marks date back to years in the 1st century, 2000 years ago.
Galicia, a region full of myths and legends was also an important area for the middle ages, especially for its links with Christianity, the most important being the tomb of the apostle Santiago, which has always been a destination for pilgrimage. The Ribeira Sacra region is famous for the highest concentration of monasteries in Europe and the importance of them in Romanesque architecture. The oldest is San Pedro de Rocas, founded in the year 573, one of the oldest in Europe and the most important is Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil founded during the sixth century and finally rebuilt in 909.
San Pedro de Rocas Monastery
RIBEIRA SACRA marcada por la emigración
In the last part of XIX century and during XX century too Galicia has been depopulated for an important emigration, mostly affecting rural areas. Initially to South America, mostly Argentina and Cuba. Later to Madrid, Barcelona and Basque Country and after II World War, to France, Switzerland, Germany,… Galician emigrants, always with the stereotype of hard workers, honest people and entrepreneurs to develop a new life far away of their country but never forgetting and missing Galicia. From Ribeira Sacra were popular the emigrants of specialized jobs as knife sharpeners (with the bike moving around Spain), stone cutters, rope makers,… All this emigration had an importance influence in the Ribeira Sacra wine region, many vineyards were abandoned. We’re proud of making our little bit for the vineyard recuperation in this region as it’s an historical heritage we must preserve as an identity of this territory.
The current wine region of Ribeira Sacra has its roots in the Romans and Christian monks, both always closely linked to wine. Our culture and wine knowledge too. We are the result of years of evolution and generations in our history, this deserves a great respect in our opinion.
Carlos Rodríguez (1st June 2018)
For further info about Ribeira Sacra historical facts we recommend you to visit these websites: