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History of Galicia North West Spain

Galicia is an old land, several civilizations have left their mark on this beautiful, most western part of Europe. Thousands of years before the Greek Homer declared Galicia the end of the world, this country was settled and alive. Galicia is mentioned in ancient documents by many civilisations and cultures.

The Megalithic culture was the first major culture in Galicia. This was the time of great architecture; the constructions of this culture were build out of giant rocks, reminiscing of Stone Hence in England but with its own character. Their religion was based on the cult of the dead. One can find thousands of menhirs and dolmens, a type of tomb or sepulchre, throughout Galicia.

In the Bronze Era Galicia became important because of its natural treasures such as ore. This also brought the first Celts to Galicia. A culture that flourished in Galicia till the arrival of the Romans. The Celts and the era of Castro’s. The Castro’s are circular fortified areas, each possessing concentric walls, surrounded by moats. We can find townships of the Celts dating back to 1000 B.C.

The Celtic culture brought forth great kings and warriors. King Breoghan from whose seeds sprouted the Kings that created Ireland,
Scotland, Brittany, Portugal, Cornwall and Wales. Breoghan who build the first lighthouse, on that same location where we can now find the tower of Hercules La Coruña. La Coruña itself is said to be Breoghan`s town. The seafaring techniques of the Galician Celt are legendary. One can experience these cultures, simply by touring Galicia.

In summer time, when every little village has some kind of fiesta. It will be impossible to miss the connection with the Celtic culture; it is among other things in the music. The bagpipes, flutes and drums are similar to those of the Celts in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Portugal and Brittany.


The Romans left their mark in the shape of enormous monuments, the tower of Hercules in A Coruña, build on the ruins of Breoghan’s lighthouse, is the oldest surviving Roman lighthouse in the world.

 

The wall around the city of Lugo, 2157 m long, 10-15 m high. A complete Roman wall, not one such a monument is left, in the entire Roman “empire“. This monument is maintained by the Xunta and a UNESCO Heritage Site.

       

Many rivers required many bridges. In Galicia one can find Roman bridges of any length, shape and form. One should not forget to mention the roman balnearios (spas). Many are still to be admired and working. Rome is still everywhere in Galicia.

One could say the Romans brought the Catholic religion to Galicia. However over the centuries, this religion developed its own character. One of the most prominent examples is Saint James Santiago, Xacobeo. The Camino de Santiago is one of the three most important pilgrimage destinations in the Christian world today.

Religious architecture can be found in its most impressive displays. The incredible cathedrals, monasteries, churches. Ancient religious architecture, sculptures and artefacts are everywhere. Thousands of years of civil architecture have blended perfectly with the Roman and religious architecture to make Galicia the “emerald” of Spain.

In summer time, when every little village has some kind of fiesta. It will be impossible to miss the connection with the Celtic culture; it is among other things in the music. The bagpipes, flutes and drums are similar to those of the Celts in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Portugal and Brittany.