We started our first article with Portugal, from Valenca that sits close to the Minho River in the north. Then we went south to Lisbon and after 26 articles we came back north to Minho.
Now that the circle is complete, why not start our trips around Spain also from the Minho River?
This is: A Guarda, situated south-west of Galicia Provence.
This is the interactive map of A Guarda with a few pins that mark the main attractions.
A Guarda, just like Valenca (001) is yet another strategical position where humans have settled thousands of years ago. Protected by the ocean, the mountains and the river. easy to see the enemies from far. Some petroglyphs prove human presence as far back as the year 5000 B.C. (soon a feature article on that subject).
A Guarda has mountains in the North and East, with Mount Santa Tecla (where is also the main attraction) at 314m above sea level and Mount Terreso at 350m. As you can see in these images, they provide quite the spot for photography, no matter the conditions!
To the South, A Guarda is protected by a natural border – the river Minho, today separating Portugal from Spain. But nature, animals, birds, fish, amphibians, insects, water, sand, dirt, etc -> they do not care about human politics. Nor does this sunset:
As you could probably note, the view can be breathtaking, and up here in the Mount Santa Tecla, sunsets are the main attraction. I wish I lived much closer to this place, so that I can bathe more in those orange-pinkish-blue light…
It is hard to imagine that in 1745, a priest passed through here, saw the mountains, went on them (as a pilgrim) and never saw anything more than nature, and A Guarda.
In 1862, a bronze statue of Hercules was discovered on this mountian, and that of course, peaked some interest as to what could there be more? Sadly the statue was stolen in 1970…
And so, after 50 years, in the early 1900s, excavations started on the Mount Santa Tecla (where these pictures are taken) and they stopped in 1988. And they uncovered quite a lot of ruins!
The Castro or the Castilian-Roman Village is been dated as existing since the first century BC (minimum)
Most buildings are circular, proving they are made by the locals and not by the Romans. The same architectural style can be found all over the province. Only a few buildings are rectangular and even those have rounded corners. It really is unique to see all these round stone foundations, on the top of the mountains, protected from anything that can come from bellow.
The people who lived here must have left soon after the first century A.D and since then, they remained forgotten, until the modern days. (most Celts did not want to convert to the Roman ways, so they fled on the ocean to Britain and Ireland)
To get here, one might find it not that easy if they don`t have a car (rental).
Some buses come from Vigo (nearest airport) but they won’t stop at the summit of the mountain, but rather at the base. The walk is very beautiful, and most people take the path up the stairs so you will not feel alone.
The city is very beautiful also, but the main attraction remains the Castro. On Wikipedia, as I was reading to find some more interesting information. I found out that in order to visit the place, one must pay… Well I do not know about that, as we were 3 times here (once we even parked the car on the very top) and we never payed. There was a security agent guarding the parking at the base, but we did not ask for money either. The parking at the top is almost always full near the sunset, so do come a bit earlier.
Thank you very much for reading this article and we hope we made you curious and wish to see what more can you visit
3D view -> https://skfb.ly/6XRup