null Itineario - Monte do Castro
Monte do Castro
Approximate duration: 45 minutes
1. Monumental entrance
This is the only entrance documented in the site to date, formed by a large monumental entrance in the shape of an “L” which narrows as it approaches the doorway. It is ritualised by a series of symbolic elements, such as the statue of a warrior, a shell midden and a small, complete ceramic pot, all of which serve not only to reinforce its monumental nature, but also to project an image of protection.
2. Area surrounding the doorway
Seven different structures were documented here, five with a circular floor plan, one oval-shaped and another rectangular with rounded corners. One of them can be linked to metalworking. Another five are clearly dwellings, with a hearth in their interior and, in some cases, a central post to support the roof. The rectangular-shaped structure was used as a store and a working space. A Roman-age dolabra axe, which can be linked to the time the two different cultures, Gallaecian and Roman, came face to face, was found in its interior.
3. Sector given over to crafting and storage spaces
In the central part of the terracing, a small, oval-shaped structure, with a smelting furnace in its interior, has been documented. This, along with the appearance of numerous metal remains, slags and crucibles for bronze smelting, has enabled us to identify this space as a foundry.
In this sector, and due to the surplus generated by intensive cereal farming, a large raised granary-type structure was built from pallabarro (mud and straw) to store cereals (millet, barley, wheat or rye). The huge fire that destroyed most of the settlement in the 1st century meant that the structure and its content were preserved in a carbonised state.
In this privileged spot overlooking most of the settlement, a more complex structure than the others was built around a large patio. Its predominant location, proximity to the large cereal storage areas, a different architectural system and an entire series of prestigious objects lead us to the conclusion that it belonged to a distinguished family or member of the settlement’s elite.
5. The “Pedra da Santa” (the Saint’s Stone)
This rock has been considerably altered by stone extraction, but popular tradition situates a unique element in this spot: here stood a huge granite rock with several steps and a large lacus (basin) from which four channels diverged in the direction of each of the cardinal points. Although almost nothing of the original stone has been preserved, its location at the highest point of the site and its orientation, visually controlling the ria of Arousa and the sunset, would have us believe that it was a symbolic and ritual element.
¡Lo que no te puedes perder!
Ruta da Pedra e da Auga (Route of Stone and Water) (PR-G 170) ()
This is one of the four trails that make up the Rutas do Salnés network, and is an old track that provided access to the mills and was used by pilgrims taking part in the procession to Santa María de Armenteira monastery on Easter Monday. It runs alongside the River Armenteira and allows us to enjoy a mixture of natural and cultural history, with its leafy forests and waterfalls, more than 30 mills, the Aldea Labrega or the Serradoiro do Souto, which has an uncommon water-powered sawmill, on its way to the monastery.
Muíños do Batán (Batán Mills) (Ribadumia)
An ethnographic and natural trail along the River Batán. Particularly impressive are the four mills built on a slope to exploit the force of the water required for them to function. All four have been restored, and one features in the representation of grain milling during the Salnés Bread Festival. Water is channelled from mill to mill before flowing out alongside the river beach.
Armenteira Monastery (Ribadumia)
An old abbey founded by Cistercian monks. Of its original construction, all that remains is the church its first abbot instructed be built in 1167, with an impressive openwork rose window. Currently, the rest of the building is the result of different architectural styles, such as Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-classical. A small community of Cistercian nuns live here and are responsible for its upkeep. It also has guest quarters.
Vantage point and Monte Lobeira castle (Vilanova de Arousa)
The vantage point, known as the Balcony of Arousa, in the borough of Vilanova de Arousa, stands at almost 300 metres high, with its northern slope in Vilagarcía de Arousa, boasting spectacular views over the ria of Arousa. On our way up to the vantage point, we can see the remains of the old castle, which belonged to the archbishop of Santiago de Compostela and was built in the Middle and Modern ages to watch over maritime traffic, until it was eventually abandoned and destroyed.
A fishing town, known as the capital of Albariño wine and where the Albariño festival, of National Tourism Interest, is held. It has an incomparable historical and artistic ensemble, featuring Fefiñáns pazo and square, the Santa Mariña ruins, San Sadurniño tower or the fishermen’s neighbourhood of Santo Tomei. It is part of the Viño Rías Baixas Route. Local dishes and the fish and seafood from the market in Cambados can be enjoyed in the area’s many restaurants.