The Soutomaior Castle
The Soutomaior Castle is the gem of the fortified heritage in As Rías Baixas. It has witnessed battles, conspiracies, power struggles among noble families, and it was visited by prominent personalities. Over history, the castle has lived periods of splendour and decadence. Today, this majestic building, located in the town of Soutomaior, on a hill at the bottom of the Ría de Vigo, is living its golden age, and it is on the way to become an international hallmark for tourism.
Surrounding this magnificent and outstanding building, you can find a beautiful garden, recognised as an International Camellia Garden of Excellence. It boasts hundred-year-old trees and a valuable collection of camellia trees, whose flowers can be seen during the whole winter season. If you follow its signposted paths, you will discover its plant diversity and its camellias, known as the flower of As Rías Baixas, the leafy woods featuring a chapel, a small stream and beautiful panoramic views, as well as its vast vineyards.
This architectural structure, part 12th-century medieval fortress, part 19th century Neo-Gothic palace is now living a new Golden age. The building complex consists of two towers, a residence and a courtyard, everything surrounded by double walls.
The museumisation of the inside of the castle has turned it into an even more appealing attraction, using technologies to display, in an entertaining and creative way, its main features: the life of the personalities linked to the castle or the importance of the building for the area. A visit to the museum is the best option to learn about the history of the castle. (Click here to know the museum).
This building was the residence of historical figures, such as Pedro Madruga, who was involved in the most important events in Galicia during the 15th century; or the writer María Vinyals, who was a pioneer in promoting women’s rights, in a period, from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, when women had no role to play.
Hidden at the bottom of the inlet to avoid being attacked by sea incursions, and situated in a strategic location to control the communications between Galicia and Portugal, this fortress, which now belongs to the Deputación de Pontevedra, combines historical heritage and a beautiful landscape. We invite you to visit the castle and immerse yourself in the history of the province.
More information here.
After dominating the territory at the bottom of the Ría de Vigo for over ten centuries, the Soutomaior Castle starts a new stage as the benchmark for heritage, culture and tourism in the province of Pontevedra. This massive fortress now houses a new and ambitious museum, which displays in an entertaining and educational way, using audio-visual devices and the latest technology, information on the history of the castle, the life of the personalities linked to the castle or the importance of this building in Galicia, and its beautiful landscape.
The museum project covers ten areas: the evolution of the fortress and its surrounding area from its origins up to nowadays; the importance of its location to dominate the territory; the destruction of the castle during the Irmandiño Revolts; the story of Pedro Madruga, a legendary figure in the history of the castle; the fortress as a symbol of power; the theory on the Galician origin of Christopher Columbus; the Soutomaior family; the transformation of the castle into a palace; the exciting life of the writer and advocate for the rights of women María Vinyals; and the refurbishments undertaken in the castle over the centuries.
The tour of the castle starts after crossing the lifting bridge and lasts about 45 minutes. It boasts the latest technology, using seven audio-visual devices, projection mapping, several magic boxes and projecting re-enactments in 3D. In addition, it includes didactic activities, specially intended for children, aimed to test visitor’s skills and knowledge.
The magic boxes are among the main attractions of this entertaining and amusing tour. They consist of a series of lights and mirrors which will bring the visitors closer to the way of life of some of the characters which have been closely linked to the castle
The “video mapping”, one of the most surprising devices of the exhibition, can be visited in the Tower of Homage. There, you can immerse yourself in the life of Pedro Álvarez de Sotomayor, popularly known as Pedro Madruga, a legendary noble closely linked to the castle. According to some theories, he may be the true Christopher Columbus. One of the rooms displays evidence on the links of this popular navigator with the family of Sotomayor.
Audio-visuals, high resolution historic images, facsimile reproductions of historical documents, a display of the chronological milestones, a zenith lighting projection of different elements of the natural and cultural landscape and of three different historic events in the castle onto a model… Visitors will have the opportunity to experience a sensory journey; they will travel one-thousand years back in time, over the different periods of the castle.
The Sobroso Castle
The Sobroso Castle was once the setting of many great battles and is surrounded by a unique landscape. Moreover, it is one of the most important examples of the fortified heritage in the province of Pontevedra. It is perched on a hill in the village of Vilasobroso, in the town of Mondariz, at more than 300 metres above sea level. This majestic fortress stands out both for its beauty and its perfect state of conservation.
The fortress is surrounded by a large forest park, which includes both native and exotic plant species. If you want to enjoy the natural landscape and the stunning views, you can walk along its botanical trail.
Built in the 12th century, the fortified complex consists of a 140-metre long outer wall, a tower with a rectangular floor plan and the residential area, consisting of two levels. The top floor for the nobility and the lower floor for the guardroom. Today, the castle houses the Centre for recovery of Popular Culture, which has a permanent exhibition of clothing and tools that used to belong to the traditional trades.
Some of the figures that played an important role in the history of the province of Pontevedra have been linked to this castle, which was the setting for power struggles. In 1117, Queen Urraca was sieged inside the castle by her sister Dona Teresa and the supporters of her son Alfonso, who would later be the first King of Portugal. According to the legend, Queen Urraca managed to flee from the dungeon through an underground passage. Then, Pelayo Muñiz was empowered to take possession of the castle in the name of the King. After the Catholic Monarchs’ accession to the throne, it would become the residence of several noble families such as the Sobroso, the Sarmiento and the Sotomayor, being the last two families confronted for the property of the fortress.
Due to its privileged location by the Miño River, it was used as a strategic point by the Archbishopric of Tui to control the communications between inland and the sea, in a setting where nature and heritage are perfectly combined.