Some of Galicia’s most famous monuments are mentioned in conjunction with the city or town in which they are found, but descriptions of them and others are also included here. The monuments mentioned include, cathedrals, bridges, city walls, lighthouses, castros, forts, monasteries, petrogliphs and dolmens and all are scattered across the region.
Galicia has five cathedrals with the most spectacular being the one at Santiago de Compostela. Those at Lugo and Ourense also provide a worth while visual spectacle. Other religious monuments include numerous churches that document a variety of architectural styles and can be found in abundence throughout the region.
Galicia has a number of bridges with sections dating back to the medieval period and even the Roman occupation almost 2000 years ago. One of the largest and most famous is the Ponte bridge on the outskirts of Ourense, but many smaller and less renovated examples are dotted in the regions numerous towns and villages.
More about some less well known monument types below these ads.
Castros are the stone remains of what it is believed were once small Celtic settlements. They represent some of the earliest civilizations in Galicia and there are several notable examples including a large castro in Lugo called Viladonga and another in la Coruna province called Barona. Some of these better known castors have museums or visitor centres associated with them.
Forts and castles
Galicia has a number of hill forts and castles with some of the better known examples defending strategic coastal positions along the regions many rias. Other castles occupy higher ground and many are connected to the remains of town walls or other battlements. All are built of the regions traditional granite and a few survive in good condition. Examples are the castles at La Coruna bay and Santa Cruz island.
Dolmens are ancient collections of stones, usually in the form of 3 or 4 uprights with a horizontal, or table top like, flat stone on top of them. They signify the burial ground of someone, usually of importance, from the Celtic period. Most dolmen burial spots are attributed to Celtic chiefs or warriors and their possessions, including armour and weapons, are often found within the monument. Dolmens are also known as megaliths and there are many prominent ones throughout the region with new finds being discovered all the time. Two examples are the dolmen at Axietos and another near the town of Noia.
Monastery and convent buildings
Galicia, as a catholic nation and one subjected to the extremes of the Spanish inquisition, has a large number of monasteries and convents. Today most of these building have been reassigned as schools, hotels and offices, but many can still be visited and a small number retain their original use as religious havens.
Called Petroglyphes or petrogliphs, these are stone rock carvings that predate recorded history and act as evidence of very early civilisations in the area. There are a number in Galicia, although some have suffered at the hands of 18th and 19th century vandals.
Lighthouses, Roman walls granite grain stores and cruceiros (stone crosses) are just four of the many other monuments encountered in Galicia and all have an appearance that makes them distinctive to the region.