In a picturesque valley, between the green mountains of eastern Galicia and the Spanish countryside full of orchards and corn fields, lies one of the highlights of the Camino. Spain has few places as beautiful as Samos, one of the famous sights that pilgrims encounter when they walk the Camino de Santiago route.
Where is Samos?
Samos, Spain (not to be confused with the Greek island of Samos) is a village in the homonymous municipality of Galicia. The beautiful location, between Triacastela and Sarria, is reason enough for many to visit this place. A gently ascending route over gravel paths and dirt roads leads to this magical place. The mountainous landscape is dotted with forests, tiny villages and farms. From the arrival route, pilgrims can already see the village with its majestic monastery before making the descent to Samos.
In terms of historical significance, Samos is one of the unmissable highlights along Spain’s Camino. The gigantic monastery complex is dedicated to Saint Julian of Samos. It is unclear exactly when the structure was built – the first reference to the monastery dates back to the seventh century, when the building was renovated. The Benedictine teachings were introduced from the tenth century and it has remained a Benedictine monastery ever since.
In the Middle Ages, the Monastery was one of the wealthiest and most powerful monasteries on the Iberian Peninsula. The monks of Samos managed hundreds of smaller monasteries and churches in Spain and Portugal. It goes without saying that this location has always been an important stop for pilgrims who undertook the Camino de Santiago. Yet the peaceful place has also known disaster. In 1536, a fire damaged large parts of the building, which were gradually rebuilt. The library was destroyed by a second fire in the 1950s.
Nevertheless, the monastery of Samos has now been completely rebuilt and the awe-inspiring building is still located in the valley after all these centuries. There is plenty for visitors to see in the monastery and its surroundings. The murals in the cloisters and the beautiful courtyard can be viewed during a (Spanish) tour by one of the seven monks who still live in the monastery. A mass for pilgrims is held every evening at seven o’clock.