The arrival and expansion of Christianity

Esgos - San Pedro de Rocas

In Galicia, with its generous, damp countryside, a prolific number of groups of hermits and monasteries were created and established after the fall of Rome. It was an ideal region for the isolated and secluded life-style of early-medieval monasteries. Some of these early buildings are now considered great treasures of pre-Romanesque Spanish architecture.

The highpoint of the Early Middle Ages in Galicia, prior to the year 1000, was the burial, in Roman times, of the remains of the Apostle St. James. This event took place during the reign of Alfonso II, in the 9th century. Christianity had previously fought a hard battle to rid the land of pagan beliefs. Two saints worked to encourage worship and art at that time:

St. Fructuoso of Braga, a patriarch of the Galician Visigoth church, and St. Rosendo of Celanova, who promoted Mozarabic building in the 10th century.

Galicia has a rich variety of pre-Romanesque artistic heritage dating from the time of the groups of hermits who, in the 6th century, lived in caves and build rural shrines such as San Pedro de Rocas, up until the arrival of the first pilgrims and the consolidation of the Road to Compostela, in the 10th century.

The most well-preserved pre-Romanesque monuments are in the South of Galicia and on the Road to Compostela, whose history began in this period.

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