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Pontevedra

Audioguide of Pontevedra

What to see in Pontevedra

It is said that Pontevedra was founded by Teucrus; nothing less than a Troy hero who, in a twist of fate, ended up in the Galician coasts. But if you are not much into legends, you might prefer to know that the Roman legions were also here. They laid out a road that had to cross a river, and for that, they built a bridge which, over the centuries, was called Puente Viejo, or Pontus Veteris. Hence the name of this city, it was only a little step away.

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It is said that Pontevedra was founded by Teucrus; nothing less than a Troy hero who, in a twist of fate, ended up in the Galician coasts. But if you are not much into legends, you might prefer to know that the Roman legions were also here. They laid out a road that had to cross a river, and for that, they built a bridge which, over the centuries, was called Puente Viejo, or Pontus Veteris. Hence the name of this city, it was only a little step away.

But although being the home of the Romans was always a good start, depending on how you look at it, Pontevedra awaited better times which would make of its old quarter the second most beautiful in Galicia, only surpassed by the one in Santiago de Compostela. The current old town preserves picturesque squares from the medieval times, a distinct flavour of noble lineage and a lot of urban palaces with their coats of arms and emblems clearly visible.

Most of these manor houses are from the sixteenth century, Pontevedra’s golden age. The most important of the Galician ports was here at the time and its powerful Gremio de Mareantes, a sailors association who built the Basilica of Santa Maria, a temple that, by the way, shared its name with the ship of Columbus, also made in the shipyards of this town.

That Renaissance city already had a past and some important monuments: the Gothic Church of San Francisco, in the Plaza de la Herreria, had caused, in the fourteenth century, some jealousy among the Dominican order, which wanted to be at the same level and built the impressive Convent of Santo Domingo. Among the remains of the latter is the tomb of Paio Gomez de Sotomayor, a noble knight who was sent to the heart of Asia to win over the sympathies of the mighty conqueror Tamerlane. It is said that once he got there, they sat him down on a magic stone which would sweat if the visitor lied, but Paio passed the test and was even able to make a toast with the terrible Asian. Perhaps the boulder, confused with the strange character of the Galicia man, did not know whether to sweat or not to sweat.

Another symbol of Pontevedra is the Church of La Peregrina, with a base shape of a scallop shell, but the most genuine traces of the city’s past are probably in the old fishing district of A Moureira. Benito Soto was born there, he was the last of the pirates of Europe, and who a couple of centuries ago terrorised half of the Atlantic sea aboard the Burla Negra and he even inspired the Spanish writer Espronceda to write a very famous poem.

They say that the treasure of the bloodthirsty Benito is hidden among the stones of the Casa de las Campanas, the House of Bells. So if you go and find it, remember that we were the ones that told you about it …


Pontevedra

Plaza Verdura, s/n (Oficina de Turismo)
36002 Pontevedra
(+34) 986 09 08 90

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Tags: Coast

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