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Vigo, the jewel of Galicia

Posted on: 1 décembre 2011

« -So where are going on holidays?

-To Vigo.

-Hem…Vigo…I thought we were going to Spain! You know Madrid, Barcelona, Granada…

-And Vigo! You will see, it is a magnificent city! Furthermore, it is on the Atlantic coast, in Galicia, in the province of Pontevedra. It is not its capital but it still is the largest city in this province.

-Fine. But what will we see there?

What is there to see in Vigo? Well many things! First of all, there is the historic quarter, the Cidade Vella, with its fishing district (O Berbés) near the harbour, its archways “Plaza de la Constitución”, its coats of arms, its collegiate church known as “Colegiata de Santa María”…the procathedral of Vigo-Tui, superb example of neoclassical construction built upon the ruins of a Gothic church burned down by a “pirate”: who was no other than Sir Francis Drake. While you are there, do not forget to try the famous Galician oysters in the Pedra Market. After the historic quarter, the more modern Vigo awaits you between Puerta del Sol, Colón and Urzáiz. From the cultural García Barbón Cultural Centre, designed by Antonio Palacios, to the Monte do Castro in which are located the old fortifications, “castros”, and the ruins of the 10th-century O Penso Castle which was replaced by the Tower Castle during the seventeenth century, this section of Vigo is full of places worth seeing.

For art lovers, in addition to the numerous statues which are spread throughout the city, visiting the Municipal Park of Castrelos is a must. You will have the pleasure of discovering neoclassical gardens, a collection of Roman steles, furniture and sculptures, a rich art gallery and also an open-air auditorium whose musical events will delight your ears.

To carry on with museum tours, the next meeting place is the Punta do Muiño, in the parish of Alcabre, at the Galician Museum of the Sea designed by Aldo Rossi and César Portella.

Finally, should you wish to rise above Vigo, the mounts of A Madroa and A Guía provide fantastic outlooks along with the opportunity to visit the zoological park and the hermitage of Nosa Señora da Guía.

And above all, if there is something one cannot miss during a trip or visit to Vigo, it is the Cíes Islands or “Islands of the Gods”. Not only can they boast of having the most beautiful beach in the world (according to the Guardian) and of being a world whose crystal clear waters of an intense turquoise-blue and fine white sand are a sight one never gets tired of watching. They are also an area of great ecological value, rich in seabirds colonies and houses sea beds. In fact, the Cíes Islands belong to the National Park of the Atlantic Islands

So as to preserve this incredible site and its biodiversity, access to the islands is limited to 2200 people each day. A boat regularly sails to the islands from Vigo and other locations during the Holy Week, week-ends in May and during the summer. From June the fiftieth to September the fiftieth, it is possible to stay (for a limited period of two weeks) at a camping for 800 tents. If you find that appealing, you must make a phone call (at the +34 986-43-83-58 or the +34 986-68-70-50) and acquire an authorization from the camping office located at the nautical station in Vigo.

To give an example of cultural event, we can mention the celebrations of Bouzas (a parish located in the free zone of Vigo). These celebrations take place during the third week of July. This event consists in five days of celebration during which several ceremonies take place. The first of them is the reading of the speech on Friday afternoon. The “knight of Bouzas”, individuals especially important for Bouzas, are also nominated during this ceremony.

Events for every taste and every age take place during this celebration, from children to elder people. Thus, it includes puppet theatres, “giant and Big Heads” shows, sport tournaments, popular games, the Felucca boat-race during which young people build boats from plate drums or the dinner-tribute to the eldest.

On the religious plane, in addition to the decoration of the Altar of Christ of Bouzas, three important events can be underlined:
-the Christ of martyrs ‘procession followed by fireworks accompanied by music and poems dealing with particular subjects. This event takes place on Sunday evening.
-the procession dedicated to “Our Lady of Mount Carmel”, patron saint of fishermen, from the church to the beach to display the portrait on a rowing boat so as to pay tribute to sailors lost at sea, followed by a flotilla of smaller boats. This event takes place on Monday afternoon.
-the procession dedicated to the Miraculous catch of fish as a tribute to San Pere Pescador.

“-So, are you convinced?

“-Here we go!”

Some interesting links for further reading in English and Spanish:

1) Vigo’s geography (in English)

2) Walking inside Vigo (in Spanish)

3) Knowing the city of Vigo (in Spanish)

Moan’Phisémy

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