Santa Maria de Oia, a jewel of Cistercian sitting by the sea
If there is an artistic period that defines the character of Galicia, that is the Romanesque. This art form modulated the landscape of the community during the eleventh to thirteenth centuries and defined the way a space that had previously been kept in a wild state due to the decline in population that occurred in the centuries after the administrative decay dealt and military of the Visigothic monarchy and the subsequent occupation of Muslim armies arrived from north Africa.
There is now a tendency to view the Middle Ages as a kind of dark epoch, placed between the light periods of the ancient classical period and the Renaissance modernity but the ingenuity and activity of these centuries in Galicia relativize this view, as seen in this Cistercian gem in Oia can enjoy: the monastery of Santa Maria Maggiore in Oia. An order of monks received the appellation Cistercian indicates that these religious follow the rules of St. Benedict reform after 1098.
San Benito was an Italian monk of the sixth century who devised standards of living for those seeking religious communities away from the secular life and find a spiritual path. At first, there were few who left their villages or cities to live in solitude in the woods and countryside but as they progressed instability and famine were more and more people saw these economic and social problems a clear sign of the arrival the end of days and followed those hermits pioneers in their choice of an ascetic life aparatad the madding crowd. There were so many that we had to create small spaces living separate and shared a few hours a day. Over the years, increased the number of people seeking the religious life, even those you have sought the support and security of these communities. So much so, that the effort to achieve the ascetic life dissipated and worldliness seized the religious life.
The rule Benedict devised was a code governing all aspects of community life and functional focused on its religious mission. Made history by its motto: "Ora et Labora" he prays and works, which already gives clues about austerity and rigidity San Benito wanted to extend to community life. Much attention was paid to the regulation of time: an use of sunlight is made according to the different seasons of the year to achieve a balance between work, usually agricultural, meditation, prayer and sleep.
San Benito was also concerned with domestic issues clarify: what habits would dress and what attitude the monks would take the food and drink they should consume and which not, and many other facets of daily life. One of the criticisms that had this rule at first was the "lack of austerity" as not referring to any chapter pure asceticism but a number of hours were imposed to work, study and religious reading, in addition to prayer. The big news that drove the Benedictine order was therefore the desire to kill you by the hermits of society.
At the end of the eleventh century by the Benedictine Cistercian reform experienced, which was a spiritual, legal, technological, agricultural and construction order for modernization. Cistercian architecture is characterized by its austerity, its functional range as diverse as the guest units, nursing, mill, forge, pigeon, farm, workshops and everything that lend service to a self-sufficient community. The Benedictine monks would be integrated into everyday life and thus succeeded in changing the landscape, govern the agricultural economy and even take up arms to defend the community, secular and religious, in times of conflict.
This message of austerity and functional use is the architectural principle governing the royal monastery of Santa Maria de Oia built in medieval times, in the late twelfth century. Its strong, compact façade, without ornamentation was a clear reflection of the reformers preached austerity Cistercian monks. Later in the monastic character several minor reforms were carried out, highlighting the construction phase of the sixteenth century with the addition of new spaces for by art teachers like Pedro del Campo or Bartolomé de Hermosa. For example, we have the faculty of the processions, center of monastic life, the chapter house, sacristy or choir loft, stays all necessary for religious life.
In the seventeenth century architecture give way to grant a greater role to the sculptural activity, will be highlighted by the performance of images or ornamental elements like altarpiece that occupies the head of the parish church of Oia. But in the eighteenth century this whole set will again experience an ambitious construction phase will affect the entire structure. For example it will produce a facade renovation Templar, the creation or expansion tower of the monastery in which two new bays including the Patio de los Naranjos is built shelters.
A gem that currently is in private hands but you can enjoy the rugged and serene charm of this gem of granite sitting by the sea.