O Cebreiro

Miraculous path

This small parish of the municipality of Pedrafita, in the region of Los Ancares, is a crucial Camino de Santiago pilgrimage place for its history, its relics and its magnificent scenery.

Plan your stay in O Cebreiro

The visit to O Cebreiro and its surroundings can take a whole morning. It also has several natural attractions nearby. The closest is the Sierra de O Courel, without forgetting the natural monument folding Campodola; and the important monastery of Samos. For wine lovers, the tour of the wineries in the appellation of origin Ribeira Sacra. To the west, a day trip can be the natural park of the Silcanyons. In the opposite direction is the town of Leon Ponferrada.

Do you want to visit this place?

The visit to O Cebreiro and its surroundings can take a whole morning. It also has several natural attractions nearby. The closest is the Sierra de O Courel, without forgetting the natural monument folding Campodola; and the important monastery of Samos. For wine lovers, the tour of the wineries in the appellation of origin Ribeira Sacra. To the west, a day trip can be the natural park of the Silcanyons. In the opposite direction is the town of Leon Ponferrada.

Its function as a crossing point has always marked its history. O Cebreiro was part of the itinerary of Roman roads, specifically that led into ancient Galicia; after the Camino de Santiago and the Camino Real; and was the first modern road to the plateau in the nineteenth century. It is said a curious miracle occurred: “In the fourteenth century, a day of heavy snowstorm, a monk celebrated Mass in the chapel. A neighbor of the parish of Barxamaior defied the storm and went to O Cebreiro for Mass. The monk honored the sacrifice of the parishioner for coming in the star, when he saw him coming, the bread from the chalice became flesh, and the wine became blood.

The chalice and the miracle paten were then preserved. A century later, during a pilgrimage to Compostela, Queen Isabella the Catholic ordered that pilgrims be kept and displayed, as is still done today in the church of Santa Maria. The story soon spread throughout Europe and seduced artists of all kinds. In fact, it is said that Wagner’s opera Parsifal is inspired by this event.

Anyone visiting the town of O Cebreiro has the feeling that time has stopped its walls and cobblestone streets. You become mesmerized by the unique pallozas or teito huts, traditional houses of pre-Roman origin, with low stone walls and covered with a conical roof, usually rye stalks. They differ from those found in other rural areas of Asturias and Leon for their stumpy forms adapted to the harsh local climate. Used as housing until mid-twentieth century, today they are shelter for pilgrims. A palloza has been converted into Ethnographic Museum, where traditional farming and household goods, as well as the old dormitory, the hearth (hearth or fireplace) and stables of the animals exhibited.

The Parish ChurchSanctuary of Santa María la Real do Cebreiro, the ninth century Romanesque style, is a great historical landmark in the city, one of the oldest monuments of the Camino de Santiago. The church was probably founded by Benedictine monks, going after Alfonso VI at the hands of the French Abbey of San Giraldo de Aurillac. Despite the various reforms, still it retains some of its pre-Romanesque invoice, irregular floor with three separated by pillars, triple header and baptistery, located on the left in a separate room ships. Inside are, among other liturgical objects, the chalice and paten where the miracle occurred; the reliquary that gave the Catholic Monarchs to save the flesh and blood of Christ; a baptismal font of the eighteenth century; and several altarpieces and remarkable sculptures, such as Santa María la Real (Virgen de los Remedios), Romanesque carving of great value to the right of the main altar in the chapel of the Holy Miracle. It is said that tilted her head to see the miracle of the grail and hence its position. To the right of the altar the tombs of the two protagonists of the Holy Miracle, the parishioner of Barxamaior and the unbelieving monk are also preserved.

Shrine of St. Mary

Next to the temple is the Hospital of San Giraldo de Aurillac, which was part of the old monastery, and was transformed in 1966 in hostelry. A curious stone with a hunting scene or slaughter, dating from the Bronze Age is still preserved.

The municipality of Pedrafita serves as a hinge between the natural reserves of Ancares and Courel, places worth visiting for its scenic beauty and natural grandeur.

Must-see...

Reserva natural de Courel
Palloza típica

Practical data

Coordinates

42° 43’ 34’’ N, 7° 1’ 16’’ W

Distances

Lugo 71 km, Madrid 438 km

Altitude

1293 m

Inhabitants

182 – in several population entities-


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