Our journey through romantic northern Spain travels south through Galicia along the Atlantic coast.
A Coruña is the region’s largest industrial city and shipping harbor and it is thought to have been founded by the Phoenicians in 60 A.D. The Romans conquered this harbor city that has always been associated with the sea and it was from A Coruña that the invincible Spanish Armada set sail in1588 to invade England.
Santiago De Compostela is the capital of Galicia and since the Middle Ages it was, apart from Jerusalem and Rome, the most important pilgrimage destination in Christendom. Half a million pilgrims came here each year from all over Europe. Spain’s most religious city continues to attract the faithful. Some centuries ago, each of the large villages of the Rias Baixas prospered due to fishing, as did Pontevedra. However, all this changed when its harbor was engulfed by sand some 300 years ago. In contrast to Spain’s many other harbor cities, the old town of Pontevedra is almost the same now as it was in bygone times with cobbled streets, intimate squares and the residential palaces of the city’s former elite.
Across a huge chain bridge that spans the mouth of a deep river is Galicia`s largest city, Vigo. Its name is of Roman origin and it is believed that Vicus Spacorum was the starting-point of Caesar’s campaign against Britannia, as well as a storage area for his Empire’s oil, fish and wine.
For many centuries, A Guarda, ‘the Female Guard’, has watched over the river border with Portugal and in the wooded mountain city of Monte Santa Tecla, the Celts established a settlement that contained more than a thousand buildings that dated back to the 6th and 3rd centuries B.C. and formed part of a prehistoric settlement.
Throughout the centuries, life in Galicia was not representative of that in the rest of Spain and both Romans and Moors considered it to be too remote for their interests. Maybe that’s what makes it such a special place to be!