Sunday, 30 August 2009

Galicia, the Iberian Ultima Thule

The celts, the romans, the suevi, the visigoths and even moors and vikings visited Galicia as a last destiny before the sea.

An wild rocky coast that also offers large safe inlets (the Rias) and optimal conditions for settling and defending against enemies. Celt settlements (castros), dolmens and engravings in the rocks can be found all around.

The romans finally defeated the Gallaicos (Galicians) in 137 BC. Roads, bridges, walled cities and aqueducts are their usual legacy. Then came the Suevi and the Visigoths with the first kingdoms, that between some fighting started peaceful mingling. All ended up with conversion to catholic religion.
The moors hardly got here - this region had no interest for them. They just now and then came to collect taxes...
Later, some Viking raids aimed at Santiago the Compostela by landing at Catoira. Fortifications still exist in the area.

Nowadays, Galicia is still a land to explore, with unspoiled coast, almost untouched beaches and steep cliffs, small fishing ports, unvisited forest parks, magnificent grain stores (horreos) in stone, megalithic era remains (dolmens, family tombs).

In Corcubión I found the spirit - a quiet large bay (Ria), white houses with framed glass balconies (galerias), other houses supported by arches, an almost mediterranean feeling in such a remote place, near cape Finisterra - the end of the earth, where mare tenebrosum starts!

In La Coruña, the main town in the far North of Galicia, you can find all this in a larger scale. Good museums, narrow up and down streets in the old town, an old tramway line, walks on the cliffs, the impressive Hercules tower - a lighthouse, first built by the romans (it's base still remaining), then rebuilt in neoclassic style. And the fantastic glass balconies facing the ocean, reflecting the sunset in thousands of mirrored windows.