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Land of hermits, nature and silence

Peñalba de Santiago is a village nestled in El Bierzo's mountains, known for its distinctive medieval architecture.

The village's homes are situated around the Mozarabic church, a well-preserved structure dating back to the 10th century.

This locale holds profound historical significance, showcasing art and rural traditions in the heart of what is commonly referred to as the Tebaida Berciana.

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We are situated at the base of the Aquilian Mountains, an environment historically chosen by anchorite monks for solitude and disconnection. From Peñalba de Santiago, you can explore places as enchanting as the San Gennadius Cave and the Silent Valley.

Monks, legends and monasteries

In the 4th century, Paul of Thebes sought spiritual retreat in the Egyptian desert of Thebaid. Inspired by his example, disciples across Christendom ventured to remote locations for meditation. At that time, El Bierzo was becoming a refuge for many of the earliest hermits.


What was it about these mountains that so deeply attracted them?

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The church of Santiago de Peñalba, built between 931 and 937, stands as a unique example of Mozarabic art that has endured through the ages.

Upon stepping inside, cast your gaze toward the ceiling to uncover its wall paintings from the Caliphal era, offering a glimpse of Al-Andalus in El Bierzo.

Legend has it that it was Saint Gennadius, the hermit who founded the church, who christened the Silent Valley. The tale goes that, one day, he commanded the river's noisy waters to fall silent, allowing him to meditate in peace.

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