The Royal Monastery of Santa María de Oia was founded in the 12th century and belonged (almost from the beginning) to the Cistercian Order. Monastic life ended in 1836, with the Mendizabal Disentailment. It then fell into private hands and has been owned by different families and used for various purposes (mainly as holiday residence, although it has also housed a school and a prison).
In 1931, it was declared a Site of Cultural Interest (BIC) and awarded the highest degree of protection in terms of heritage. However, before and after it went through years of neglect, looting and several fires. Since the beginning, access to the monastery was limited and only now can it be visited (thanks to its current owners).
Two strategic lines are currently being followed. The main and most complex one has to do with the restoration of the Monastery. The idea is to turn it into a hotel, thereby guaranteeing its future sustainability. Meanwhile, public access will be granted by means of an annual cultural program. In both instances, the goal is the same: breathe new life into the Monastery and showcase a forgotten piece of our tangible and intangible heritage, integrated in the landscape and with a bright future ahead. The work carried out during these last couple of years has left its mark.
Purchase of the Royal Monastery of Oia
Research and development
Open to the public and 75th anniversary of its declaration as a Site of Cultural Interest
Guided visits upon request organized by ACAMO
(Association of Friends of the Oia Monastery)
Members of the European Charter of Cistercian Abbeys and Sites
(more than 200 monasteries across Europe)
Speaking engagements in different forums and international events
Founding members of ACIGAL
(Galician Association of Cistercian Monasteries)
Topographic survey (2D) and photogrammetric mapping (3D) of the building
Restoring the graffiti of Republican prisoners
Our publishing house (“Serra da Groba”) is born
Opening to the public and different promotion events
Launch of the annual “Recoñecemento Real Mosteiro de Oia. Chave e memoria de Galicia” event
Restoration of ashlar masonry, now the Visitor Center
Restoration of portals and doors
Publishing of “Un monasterio vinculado al mar” by Mayte Prieto
The “Os presos do Mosteiro” exhibition wins first prize for Local Contribution to Architecture
Filming and screening of a documentary (“Un Mosteiro, un fogar”)
First school trips
Publishing of “En 1939 nos vimos en Oia” by F. Javier Costas Goberna
In 2004, Juan Martínez, CEO of Galician corporate group Vasco Gallega (headquartered in Vigo), purchased the monastery from Banco Pastor. He finds the building to be in pitiable condition, with caved in ceilings and on the verge of collapse. After decades of neglect, he decides to restore it.
The investment to restore the sole Cistercian monastery on Atlantic shores is estimated at dozens of millions of euros and is the biggest investment in the history of Oia. It is also one of the biggest private investments on Galician heritage in recent decades. For it to work, a legal and urban planning framework that guarantees the feasibility of the project and its use as a hotel must be in place. All necessary licenses are currently being procured from up to 8 different Public Administrations. After two prior attempts, the complexity and slowness of the bureaucratic system are proving to be the greatest obstacle.
While waiting for a comprehensive legal framework, the actions taken are focused on consolidating and learning more about the building. At the same time, the cultural boost has made it possible for the Monastery to open its doors to visitors for the first time in more than 850 years.
No public funding has been awarded to any initiative to date
If you wish to know more about the project or the state it is at, please send an e-mail to email@example.com.