Eight ways to admire our heritage
The province has an enormous richness which can be appreciated in archaeological sites, castles, gardens and other impressive works created along the centuries. This legacy, lying in an amazing landscape with beautiful natural spaces of international relevance, is present in traditions, legends, literary works and commemorative festivals.
There are different ways to admire the heritage of the province, and Rías Baixas Tourism will promote them this year through eight different perspectives which tell the story of this magic and beautiful land. Our legacy is present in monuments, places, expressions of human creativity and works and collections preserved in public and private organisms as museums, libraries and record offices. These are the key elements of the campaign "Somos historias" (We are stories).
Fortifications. Towers and fortresses are scattered through the province of Pontevedra. The majestic Soutomaior Castle witnessed important episodes of the Galician history since it was built in the 7th century. This year it will be turned into a museum, thus becoming an important attraction for those who travel for cultural reasons. In the same way, the Sobroso Castle also reflects the magnificence of our past.
The towers known as Torres de Oeste, in the town of Catoira, witnessed the Viking landings to carry out raids in Santiago de Compostela. Similar defensive constructions can be found in A Lanzada (Sanxenxo) or in Cambados, as the San Sadurniño Tower. The splendid fortresses of the province, as the ones in the towns of Salvaterra de Miño, Tomiño (in the parish of Goián) or Baiona, also combine history and monumental dimensions.
Archaeology. Our ancestors' history is present in the archaeological sites, which have undergone restoration and conservation works in recent years. Hillforts are a key element of the identity of the province and they have a great potential as tourist attractions. Santa Trega (in the town of A Guarda), lying beside the mouth of the Miño River and the Atlantic Ocean, was once the most important fortress in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. O Facho (in the town of Cangas) lies in a perfect setting from where amazing views of the Cíes Islands and the three rías (coastal inlets) can be admired. The location of the hillfort of A Lanzada, next to a charming chapel, is also impressive. Alobre, Castrolandín and O Monte do Castro, in the towns of Vilagarcía de Arousa, Cuntis and Ribadumia, respectively, are other important examples of the heritage of this destination.
Landscape. And what about the gardens in As Rías Baixas? All throughout the province you can find wonderful botanic gardens as the French and English gardens in the pazo and museum Quiñones de León (Vigo), which dates back to the 19th century, or the one in the Soutomaior Castle, the paradise of the camellia and the first garden in Spain which was declared Garden of International Excellence. Other major examples of the botanic value of the region are the botanic park in the town of Caldas de Reis, on a bank of the Umia River; the garden of the Pazo de Rubianes (Vilagarcía de Arousa); and the ones in the Pazo de Oca (A Estrada), commonly known as the Galician Versailles.
Literature. The province of Pontevedra is the birthplace of a large number of writers and it was the source of inspiration for others, who were amazed by the immense beauty of the territory and its legends. Some of them would find in As Rías Baixas the perfect setting for their works, as Valle-Inclán, María Vinyals, Emilia Pardo Bazán or Jules Verne. The latter included a visit of the Nautilus to the Vigo Bay to discover the hidden treasures of Rande in his novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. And the list is longer.
Religion and spirituality. The coastal and inland monasteries in As Rías Baixas keep inside their walls part of the history of Galicia, and they have become monuments with a great tourist potential. Carboeiro (in the town of Silleda), San Xoán de Poio, A Armenteira (Meis), the Aciveiro Monastery (Forcarei) are monuments which reflect the splendour of a bygone era. In the town of Oia you can find the Monastery of Santa María, exceptional because it is located on the sea shore.
The Significant Cemeteries of the province are also an excellent example of our heritage. Some of them stand out for their beauty and history, their sculptures and other characteristics which make them unique, as the ones in the places of Pereiró (in Vigo) and Santa Mariña Dozo (in Cambados), and in the parish of Arcos de Furcos (in Cuntis), the Cemetery of San Mauro in Pontevedra, the English cemetery in Vilagarcía de Arousa and the Cemetery of Os Eidos in Redondela.
Immaterial heritage. The province of Pontevedra is a land of myths, legends and traditions, many of them commemorated through Festivals of International Interest, such as the Romería Vikinga in Catoira, the Entroido dos Xenerais da Ulla (in Vila de Cruces, A Estrada and Silleda), the traditional dances in the region of O Morrazo, the Rapa das Bestas, the Arribada in Baiona, the Corpus Christi floral carpets in Ponteareas, the Reconquista in Vigo or the Feira Franca in Pontevedra. The Castrodeza Centre in the town of Lalín is a benchmark institution to get immersed in our ancestors' traditions, in the legends and other elements of our immaterial heritage.
Nature. The spaces combining a great diversity and beautiful landscapes are important tourist attractions in As Rías Baixas, and they are also some of the key elements of this campaign, with the significant species and the birds which can be found, for example, by the mouth of the Miño River (in A Guarda, O Rosal and Tomiño), in the Cíes Islands (Vigo), in the Intertidal Complex of the Umia River (O Grove, Sanxenxo, Meaño and Cambados), in O Candán Mountains (Forcarei) and in the Natural Park of the Barosa River (Barro).
Ethnography and culture. Museums house and preserve a rich heritage with excellent collections coming from different fields: archaeology, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts… The list of disciplines integrated in this valuable heritage is almost endless.
The Museum of Pontevedra has become a benchmark institution not only in the province. In Vigo you can also find a wide range of spaces with exhibitions. Wine culture and gastronomy represent an important asset in As Rías Baixas, and they are also present in museums. If you want to know more about them, you can visit the Wine and Lamprey Interpretation Centre in Arbo (Arabo) or the Ethnographic Wine Museum in Cambados. There are more investigation, interpretation and exhibition centres in the province which will also be promoted through this campaign in 2018.