Castle of Monterrei (Monterrei)
This fortified area, one of the most important in Galicia, was built over the site of an ancient hill-fort, which in the Middle Ages was converted into a fortress to safeguard the frontier. The area still contains the remnants of walls from this period, together with more modern parapets and bastions, the result of advances in fortified structures and new firearms. Inside the mediaeval precinct is the Romanesque church of Santa María de Gracia, containing an interesting altarpiece, the Keep or Tower of Don Sancho, and the Tower of the Damas (the Ladies’ Tower), around which grew the Renaissance palace of the Counts. Monterrei once contained three monasteries (belonging to the orders of St Francis, the Mercedarians and the Jesuits), Galicia’s first ever printers, and the Pilgrims’ Hospice. Close to the castle is the Parador or state-run hotel, built on the site formerly occupied by the Jesuit monastery.