Those who do not visit while they are alive, will visit in another form once they are dead
The famous sanctuary and its village in the mountain range of “A Capelada,” are known as San Andrés de Lonxe (far away) or San Andrés do Cabo do Mondo (of the cape of the world) as they are situated very close to the northernmost point of the peninsula.
Planning your Escape to San Andrés de Teixido
San Andrés de Teixido is a small place to visit in a few hours; Its wild and beautiful surroundings can be seen during the rest of the day (or several days dedicated to the walks). For those that are restless, you can explore the twelve kilometers that separate this town from the fishing village of Cedeira, a good place to eat surrounded by magnificent views. The other option is to take the road north to the port of Cariño, then go around the bay to the to the village of Ortigueira. In an area with negligible tourist infrastructure, we recommend that you book ahead of time in the summer months. To know what to book and eat in the region, look at our Spanish pages on sleeping and eating in Cedeira.
San Andrés de Teixido is full of traditions and legends that give it an aura of mystery and make it one of the most important places of worship and pilgrimage in Galicia. Legend has it that San Andrés arrived by boat to the cliffs of Teixido, where his boat known as the Boat de San Andrés, shipwrecked after hitting a rock. No one helped him, but he received the promise of God that he would have a sanctuary and a pilgrimage that would last to the end of the world and that, alive or dead, all mortals would have to go there; hence the saying: A Santo André de Teixido vai de morto o que non vai de vivo (Those who do not visit San Andrés de Teixido while they are alive, will visit in another form once they are dead).
The first documentation of this church was during the 12th century, when it was owned by the Count and Countess of Traba. They then passed it, in 1196, to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, and later to the Order of Malta, which would end up later being passed along to the powerful Andrade family. Because of this, the facade of the temple shows the shields of both owners, who would dispute over the church property for years because of the important sums of money left by the pilgrims. The income had to be especially large in the 17th and 18th centuries, since an important Baroque altarpiece was finished in 1624, while the temple of the small village was renovated in 1665, 1785 and 1789.
Only 12 km separate the locality of Cedeira from the Sanctuary of San Andrés de Teixido, one of the most breath-taking parts of the earth, in a constant tug-o-war between the land and the sea. The sanctuary is a Gothic Sailor styled temple with subsequent Baroque renovations, built between the 15th and 18th centuries with the offerings of the faithful. It highlights its triumphal arch of the 15th century with the mural paintings and its baroque chapel from the eighteenth century. In its popular baroque altarpiece, the 12 apostles are represented, and in the room of San Andrés, there is the image-reliquary of the 17th century. At the altar of the church we can find all kinds of objects offered to San Andrés, highlighting the sanandreses (in Galician they are called sanandresiños), also known as votive offerings made from pieces of bread without yeast and painted with bright colors. They are handmade by the women of the village, and can be purchased at any of the souvenir shops. Currently, they have become a popular souvenir for visitors, and they have several forms and each one a different meaning:
-The Hand: To ask for love, good companies and friendship.
-The Fish: for work and sustenance.
-La Boat: for traveling, home and business.
-The Saint: for physical and mental health, and good coexistence.
-The Staircase: to get to paradise.
There are numerous days when it is customary to go on a pilgrimage to San Andrés de Teixido: On Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Pentecost, on the 24th of June (San Juan Bautista), from August 16th to September 9th (which is the season of the great pilgrimages, especially on September 8th, the highest-ranking day), also on the third Friday, the third Saturday and the third Sunday in September, as well as the 29th of that month (San Miguel); And finally, from the 27th to the 30th of November (St. Andrew the Apostle). The pilgrims have the habit of leaving a stone in mounds or milladoiros that are formed on both sides of the road towards the temple. More than half a dozen of them are preserved, formed by thousands and thousands of stones. According to the popular legend, these mounds of stones will speak at the Final Judgment, saying which souls fulfilled the promise of going to San Andrés. It is also a tradition to drink from the fountain of the Tres Caños, ask San Andrés for a wish and throw a small piece of bread in the water. If it does not sink, it’s a sign that we will have good fortune in our life, at least for a year.
As for the natural environment of the place, the cliffs are incredible, a must-see in San Andrés de Teixido, as they are the highest in continental Europe. They are 612 meters above sea level. The Atalaia of Herbeira is the viewpoint from where you can see the best views of the cliffs.
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