Monastery of Santa María
Monastery of Santa María de Melón © Turespaña
The old Cistercian monastery of Melón contains in its church one of the largest and most imposing sanctuaries in Galician monastic architecture.
It was founded by monks from the French abbey of Claraval in 1142, and was at one time extremely powerful, as can be seen from the architectural remains that still survive.
Various rooms in the monastery, the galleries in the cloister and the two later chapels are currently under restoration, as well as the entrance to the monastic site.
The only element remaining from the primitive Romanesque church with three naves is one section of a nave, the transepts with two semicircular chapels, and an interesting ambulatory with freestanding columns. Its walls and roofs were refurbished once again in the 19th century in the historicist style. It is topped with cross and quarter-sphere vaults, and has a rectangular tower at the point where the transept meets the naves.