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Strolling around Cangas: its nature, its history and its industrial past

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The mountain of O Facho, the blue trail leading to the beach of Melide, the invasion of Turkish Berber pirates in 1617, stories of shipwrecks that are told by the shore, great historic figures honoured in street names, and an industrial symbol: the Massó complex. The routes organised by the Town Council of Cangas, in cooperation with the association A Illa dos Ratos, offer tours along magnificent coastal landscapes and, at the same time, promote the history of this municipality, located in the region of O Morrazo.

A two-hour guided tour has a lot to offer in Cangas: you can enjoy breathtaking views, learn about the varied fauna and flora in the beautiful setting of A Costa de Soavela, set foot on a sacred mountain, get to know the historic figures that its streets are named after, and immerse yourself in the fascinating history of the iconic Massó factory, which was, back in the day, the largest canning factory in Europe.

The Town Council of Cangas and the association A Illa dos Ratos promote two cost-free activities until 25 March, which include six routes. They have been met with a spectacular welcome: they were fully booked on the first weekend, and a waitlist was opened. A wide variety of activities is offered, of unquestionable interest to both locals and tourists. If you want to participate, you must sign up beforehand at the tourist office (telephone number: +34 986 392 023), and the Town Council recommends doing it as far in advance as possible, because of the high demand.

One of the itineraries goes along the route of Donón, classified as a "blue trail". The guided tour starts at the sculpture of the Buguina ("Seashell"), by the artist Lito Portela, and reaches the wild and idyllic beach of Melide, facing the Cíes Islands, the natural gem that is part of the National Maritime-Terrestrial Park of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia. Over the course of the tour, participants will get to know the fauna and flora in this coastal area, included in the Natura 2000 network, with spectacular cliffs, lighthouses —Cabo Home, Punta da Robaleira and Punta de Subrido— and amazing views. The route is 2.5 kilometres (approximately 1.6 miles) long, it lasts two hours and it is scheduled for Sundays at 11 am, until 5 March.

Another route available in this area is the one leading up the mountain of O Facho. During the tour, a guide will explain the history of this sacred mountain, which, for thousands of years, protected the coasts of O Morrazo. To this day, it still keeps interesting secrets, partly revealed by the archaeological findings. The mountain was inhabited since the 10th century BC, with a settlement on its east hillside, and a castro (hillfort settlement) was founded there in the 6th century BC, surviving until the 1st century BC. Later on, in the 2nd century AD, a Roman sanctuary was erected to honour the God Lar de Berobriga, and in the 18th century a coastal surveillance unit was built for military purposes, of which only the sentry box remains. From that point, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the rías (coastal inlets) of Vigo, Pontevedra and Arousa. The route, called "O Facho: millenary guardian" is 2.2 kilometres (approximately 1.4 miles) long and it is scheduled for 25 March.

One of the major symbols of Cangas is the Massó industrial complex. Through the route "The sentiment of our people", the Town Council and the association A Illa dos Ratos will explain the history of the canning factory and the whale-processing factory. It was built in 1941 featuring the leading technology of that time, to the extent that it became the largest canning factory in Europe, and, by 1943, its staff had expanded into a team of 2,000 people. The Massó industry patented its own technology, which would be used worldwide. In Punta Balea, facilities were built where whales and sperm whales would be processed from the 1950s to 1985, when they were closed down after Spain signed the international agreement that banned the commercial exploitation of large cetaceans. The canning factory remained active until 1994, but later attempts to relaunch it were in vain. The route is 1.4 kilometres (approximately 0.9 miles) long and it is scheduled for 4 March, following the success of the first walking tour on 28 January.

The coastal path between Areamilla and Liméns, which starts in Punta Balea's surrounding area, sets the course for another itinerary. In this incomparable setting, by the sea, participants will have the chance to hear the interesting stories that the coast of Cangas has to tell. The guides' explanations will include both information on nature and historical facts, and they will deal with various topics such as the shipwrecks around A Borneira, the native flora, the myths and legends, the pirate incursions, the formation of the caves known as As Furnas, the boom of the salting and canning industry in the 19th and 20th centuries and the dune system of Liméns, which is where the tour comes to an end. This route is 7 kilometres (approximately 4.4 miles) long and it is scheduled for 25 February.

This year is the 400th anniversary of the biggest attack undergone by Cangas in its entire history, the assault by Turkish Berber pirates on 9 December 1617, and the next route, named "The defence of the town", revolves around this event. Participants will immerse themselves in the lives of the people of that time, in a town that was thriving thanks to fishing and trade. The itinerary will go through the old area, and you will have the assistance of guides who will offer information on the power of the church and the collegiate church as the centre of all social life in Cangas. They will also talk about historic figures of that time, about typical seaside architecture and about the defence from the Turkish attack, along with its consequences, including the infamous story of María Soliña, condemned by the Inquisition for witchcraft. This route is 1.5 kilometres (approximately 0.9 miles) long and it is scheduled for 11 February and 18 March.

The old town also provides the setting for another route, called "Streets with history". The tour, supported by photographs from the past, starts at the iconic clock of the old alameda park and stops at the neighbourhood of O Eirado do Costal, where you will hear an explanation of the origin of Cangas as a seaside town. Participants will come across staunch supporters of public education, writers (from medieval troubadours to present-day authors), prime ministers and major Galician sailors. This itinerary is 2 kilometres (approximately 1.2 miles) long and it is scheduled for 18 February and 11 March.

Cangas offers idyllic spots, a rich history and an industrial symbol of great significance in Galicia. The routes have been planned as a good and healthy way to get to know all the heritage of this town of O Morrazo.

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