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Zooming in on archaeology from Pontevedra

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The Telearchaeology project conducted by the Museo Provincial (Provincial Museum) promotes our heritage in audio-visual format with the involvement of experts, amateurs, school students and institutions. The buildings of the complex, a good starting point to get to know the province capital

The castros (hillfort settlements) of Santa Trega, A Lanzada, Alobre, the petroglyphs of Campo Lameiro and Mogor, the Roman village of Toralla… It is all about bringing back the past with present-day tools and in new formats. The Museo de Pontevedra has opened a window for research on and promotion of our heritage using a collective approach and audio-visual support: an innovative way of returning to our roots. The Museum complex, founded by the Deputación (Provincial Council of Pontevedra) in 1927 and currently composed by six buildings, is an interesting starting point to get to know the historic centre of the province capital.

The Telearchaeology project comprises three branches:

The Museum has created the so-called Arqueo-rede (Archaeo-network), involving those cooperating in research and promotion, both people (a group known as "Grupo Menhir") and institutions (or "Grupo Dolmen"). The former comprises experts, teachers, researchers and professionals in the fields of History and Social Sciences. The latter is composed by town councils, universities, museums, centres of archaeological studies and associations that foster public participation through different activities.

The educational workshops, which are another branch, channel part of the work towards promoting interest in archaeology among laypeople. Their goal is for participants to learn how to conduct research and present it in audio-visual format. The process includes teaching how to create and edit videos using smartphones, tablets and cameras. These workshops take place in the educational centres registered in the project and in the facilities of the Grupo Dolmen.

Furthermore, in the last few months, talks have been held in different spots of the provincial municipalities, with the participation of renowned experts. Specialists such as Antonio de la Peña, Xosé Álvarez Castro, Beatriz Comendador, Antonio Presas, Álvaro R. Arizaga Castro, José Carlos Sánchez Pardo, Fernando Carrera or David Fernández Abella, among others, contributed their knowledge and thoughts to the project; the aim was to delve into the past through the research conducted and the remains found.

The Telearchaeology is rounded out by the short film festival dedicated to the heritage of the province, divided into two categories: Lascas (a term for small pieces of stone), with a maximum running time of five minutes, created by people under 18; and Bifaces (a kind of Prehistoric tools), with a maximum of 15 minutes, by people aged 18 or over. A total of 49 films were submitted for competition, displaying creativity in various genres, ranging from documentary to thriller, and disseminating information on vestiges from the provincial past.

Walking around Pontevedra

The Museo Provincial is one of the must-go places for visitors in the capital of the province. It features a collection of over 16,000 pieces ranging from Prehistory to present day, which enable us to learn about the evolution of Galician society from its origins. The complex houses impressive documentary and graphic archives and organises interesting exhibitions.

The Ruins of San Domingos (14th-15th centuries) are part of the Museum and feature on the list of must-know spots in this Boa Vila (Galician for "good town"). The temple was built by the Dominicans and a reconstruction in the Neoclassical style was attempted in the 18th century, although it remained unconcluded. The chevet of the church has made it to our days and, inside, you can admire sarcophagi, coats of arms or the graves of important personalities such as the knight Tristán de Montenegro.

Another advantage about Pontevedra is that it is an eminently pedestrian town: you can effortlessly walk your way around the whole centre, which makes the visit easier. The historic area, one of the most beautiful and best preserved in Galicia, has remarkable public squares (prazas), among which A Ferrería, the heart of the town, is one of the best known. Its name comes from the old forges in the soportais (arcade-like structures), which supplied other trades with metal. The square is next to the Praza da Estrela and to the gardens of Casto Sampedro.

The Convent of San Francisco and the Sanctuary of A Peregrina ("the Pilgrim"), the patron saint of the province of Pontevedra, give the area a monumental character. The Chapel of A Peregrina, built in 1778, featuring a Baroque-style façade with Neoclassical elements, is one of the representative buildings of the town. At the top, you can see images of Santiago, San Roque and A Peregrina, all dressed in pilgrim's attire, protecting the believers on their way to Santiago de Compostela via the Portuguese route. The Convent of San Francisco, built almost entirely in the 14th century, was declared a historic-artistic monument in 1896.

Very close to it is the Praza da Leña, surrounded by traditional buildings and with a central cruceiro (a stone cross). The complex of the Museo Provincial, comprising six buildings (Ruins of San Domingos, Castro Monteagudo, García Flórez, Fernández López, Sarmiento and Sexto Edificio) is located in the vicinity, and so is the Baroque-style Church of San Bartolomeu, built between 1696 and 1714.

The Praza de Ourense and the Praza da Estrela, surrounding the Praza da Ferrería, are two more of Pontevedra's significant spots. From A Estrela, with its central fountain, you can admire the Pazo dos Barbeito, also known as "casa das caras" ("the house of the faces"), because of its ornamental figures. Among the neighbouring buildings, it is worth mentioning the examples of Modernist architecture, with beautiful façades and soportais. Other squares, including O Teucro, A Verdura, As Cinco Rúas, Méndez Núñez and Mugartegui (or A Pedreira) are also representative public spaces in the historic area that must not be missed on a visit to Pontevedra.

The Basilica of Santa María, whose construction began in the 16th century at the initiative of the Guild of Fishermen, was declared a historic-artistic monument in 1931, and it is a religious symbol of great significance in the town. Its style is a combination of late Gothic and Renaissance. An example of the latter is the main façade, considered one of the highlights of Plateresque in Galicia.

An ideal spot for walking and taking a break is the alameda, an area designed by the architect Alejandro Sesmero, including the garden of Eduardo Vicenti and the boulevard of As Palmeiras. This space was opened at the beginning of the last century, following the urban expansion. The Pazo provincial, headquarters of the Deputación; the Valle-Inclán Secondary School, an example of Modernist architecture; and the monument to the heroes of Ponte Sampaio are also there.

The lively atmosphere in the historic area is an invitation to try the local cuisine in one of its many restaurants and tapas places. When it comes to fresh products, the food market is a point of reference with its fish, meat, vegetable and cheese stands.

The Boa Vila has even more to offer, and the best way to know it is to walk the town personally. What are you waiting for?

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