Guide to Pontevedra – Galicia, Basque Country (Pais Vasco), Spain
Pontevedra means ‘old bridge’ and the town is situated at the top of the River of the same name. It has a long maritime and trading tradition, to this day the city is dominated by the shipyards, fishing port and the city’s intense commercial activity. One of the most famous historical figures linked with this important strategically placed city is Christopher Columbus, his ship, the Santa Maria, was built here. However the history of Pontevedra dates back to prehistoric times. The many prehistoric cave engravings in the countryside surrounding the town of Pontevedra are proof of its ancient origins.
The picturesque Old Quarter of Pontevedra with its porticoes streets, charming squares and a fine museum is reason enough to come to this provincial capital. It boasts one of the largest and most elegant historic quarters in the whole of Galicia and contains all the necessary prerequisites to fulfil this position.
The town of Pontevedra is quite small with picturesque winding streets, little squares, fountains and old houses with balconies. It houses the magnificent Gothic Church of Santa Maria la Mayor; constructed by the guild of sailors, it is known as one of the jewels of Galician art and is one of the major attractions of the town along with the Virgen Peregrina. Both are considered to be the town’s most emblematic buildings. The Provincial Museum of Pontevedra, one of the largest in Galicia, its main exhibits are the large collection of medieval art and Spanish and European paintings from the 16th to the 18th centuries, and a selection of works of popular art by Galician artists. Also contributing to Pontevedra’s artistic heritage are The Franciscan and Dominican monasteries and the Claretian convent. The church and convent of San Francisco are famous in particular as it contains several medieval sarcophagi.
Other towns in the province of Pontevedra
Considered to be a seafood lovers Mecca, where freshly gathered shellfish, shallow-water fishing, farming of mussels, oysters and scallops on wooden platforms are practised religiously. It stages a festival which extols the virtues of shellfish, declared to be of National Tourist Interest which takes place around October
Taking in the sunset is an unavoidable reason for visiting the fortress of Monterreal and its famous Prince’s Tower. Also worth a visit is the collegiate church of Santa Maria. The 1st of March. Brings the ‘Festival of the arrival’ a Renaissance atmosphere is recreated among the cobbled streets.
Illa de A Toxa
whose fame is derived from its medicinal mineral waters. The water is famous for its therapeutic properties for the skin, as well as the salts and soaps which are made from them. The island is a major spa resort.