The peaceful Vilalba, surrounded by rolling hills and rivers, contains a turbulent past as a medieval serfdom at the time of the struggles of the fifteenth century.
Villalba is a small place that can be seen in one morning, you can spend the rest of the day to tour the villages of the contours. Another option is to hike. The town is equidistant from two major destinations. In this direction the motorway A8 reach the medieval Mondoñedo; while the AG64 motorway westbound, after wandering in the AC564, you can access the large natural park Fragas do Eume.
Vilalba, Villalba in Castilian, is the capital of the region of Terra Chá, in Lugo and villa step on the road to the coast of the Camino de Santiago. In many lands late Neolithic remains are preserved: funerary monuments; stone structures with prehistoric engravings, such as Roza Modi, the most important of the peninsular northwest, in the form of wavy lines; and menhirs, like Pedra Chantada. There is also the presence of military settlements, villas Iron Age in some cases were Romanized.
Its first documentary mentions date back to the sixth century and refer to the town of Santa Maria de Montenegro, and walled castle, which was completely destroyed in a fire. What is less clear is the origin of the town with its current name. Some put their foundation in the eleventh century, but in the XII still appears with the name of Vilarente, so others speak of a later period, around 1400, under the lordship of Fernando Ruiz de Castro.
Subsequently, Vilalba became a dominion of the Andrade, the most powerful northern Galicia and linked to the counts of Lemos family. As feudal lords, these treated harshly farmers and their dependents whole population of the domains of those in authority.
In 1431 the local nobles, led by Alfonso de Lanzós, Pedro de Osorio and Diego de Lemos, organized the peasantry in the Irmandade Fusquenlla (brotherhood Funsquenlla) to face together the troops of Nuño Freire de Andrade; among other strengths, they destroyed the castle of Vilalba. When they were defeated, Andrade forced the neighbors to rebuild the current tower-fortress. Between 1467 and 1469, during the Second Great War Irmandiña, Castle Vilalba and more than 130 fortifications of the Galician nobility they were again attacked by the militia.
For those interested in archeology, in addition to those traces of the Neolithic, around Vilalba you can visit various forts of the Iron Age, as the Castro de Nete, surrounded by three panels of wall from which only preserved the North; the Belesar (aka Santa Catarina in the chapel of this title that was built on it) has a double defensive wall and is located on a reservation; and, among others, Gondaísque Castro (Castro Grande), whose side are also the remains of a Roman villa (Vilar de Eimil). You can enjoy and learn at the Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology, which in its 675 m2 of facilities presents an interesting chronological exhibition of pieces from the Paleolithic to Roman times, with the best and most complete collection Age of Stone Lascada northwestern peninsular between them.
But the building more to see in Vilalba is the tower of Andrade, tower of the former castle of the Andrade and current tourist inn. The tower is witness to what was the future of the city since the fifteenth century, although its origins date from the early fourteenth century. Destroyed several times during irmandiñas struggles and forth to rebuild, we see now it is the result of last reconstruction of the fifteenth century. It rig built with reinforced corners slate and granite, is distinguished by its octagonal shape, away from existing models in both Galicia and northern Spain.
The manor footprint can also be found in the manor houses scattered vilalbesas different parishes. These manor houses are privately owned and most are not visitable. The Pazo de Samarugo, in the parish that bears its name, is known throughout the region for its owners, linked to irmandiñas riots, exercised their vassals the right to “rope and knife”, ie, pardon or punish mediase death without another trial that his word.
Religious Architecture must especially mention the Church of Santa Maria, located in the square of the same name, opposite the Tower of Andrade. The current building replaces the old temple Romanesque design, demolished in 1867 and rebuilt in the second half of the nineteenth century by Manuel Mato Vizoso, who returned his look as he had known as a child. The temple, with a Latin cross, presents today its whitewashed walls and with little decoration.
As popular architecture and attractions for visitors, some mills, the result of agricultural traditions of the region and the cultivation of cereals are preserved. Around Vilalba, on the bank of river Ladra, you are the Rañego mill recently rebuilt. It is the beginning of a pleasant walk, in which tour you can see other mills while enjoying the diversity of forest species. The itinerary ends in a small river beach surrounded a playground and sports.
Church of Santa Maria
On the roads of the municipality, the mastery of the stonemasons of the area left a large number of stone crosses (stone crosses), one of the most deeply rooted in the land and Galician culture and intimately linked to the rural landscape monuments. The most important area is to throw in Tardade. Made of granite in 1906, it is one of the most decorated Galicia. It consists of a cross with the figure of Christ crucified on the front, flanked by two smaller images at his feet, and Our Lady of Mercy on the reverse. In the shaft are located San Antonio, elements of passion and custody. Based on Christ sitting with his crown of thorns and the reliefs sides of Santiago on horseback, San Jose, San Roque, Calvary and other reasons. Moreover, the fond of hunting and fishing vistante can practice in different Preserves municipality. There are also numerous hiking trails nearby, that will enjoy the magnificent scenery of Terra Chá.
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