With regards to the tourist industry within Spain, Northern Spain and in particular Galicia especially have been very much a hidden treasure and hidden within lies a further particular treasure called Pontevedra. Of all of the autonomous regions of Spain Galicia is considered the most remote and therein lies the charm of Pontevedra hidden away longing to be discovered.
Galicia has always been seen as a poor rural region, whose economy was dependent upon agriculture and fishing and did not lend itself to modernisation and yet as far as tourism is concerned it is this constant contact with the past that gives the region its appeal and charm.
The Galicians are fiercely proud of their culture and language and their Celtic heritage; it is what makes them unique (they feel) within modern day Spain.
Galicia always seemed to be a very closed and inward looking area being fiercely resistant to any formal external invasion and in many ways this degree of isolation was very much driven by the geographical location of the region.
In what has been a mountain to climb slowly but surely Galicia is now trying to manage successfully the twin track of its regional lifestyle with a much more modern society and thankfully this appears to have had very positive results with regards to tourism with little sign of negative effects..
For those who wish to visit somewhere slightly interesting and possibly out over the ordinary then a trip to Pontevedra is just the order for the day.
Pontevedra can be found on the main road leading from Vigo northwards to Santiago de Compostela on the N550. If you believe the stories that surround the town according to myths and legends and then Pontevedra was supposedly built by a character called Teucro who was one of the heroes of the Trojan War.
In reality however Pontevedra was actually constructed by the Romans who first constructed a bridge across the Lerez River and the present day town began to emerge round this bridge.
The original bridge has now been restored almost to its original condition and is now called A Ponte do Burgo and the bridge remains to this day one of the town’s principal landmarks. The town is also one off the four provincial capitals within Galicia.
A tour of Pontevedra is probably best started on what is called the Alameda Boulevard which has often been described as the green lungs of the town. One of the more established parts of the city the boulevard houses many lovely 19th century buildings that are now home to many important offices.
If one had to provide a potential top five of must see sites in Pontevedra then I guess that the following would make it onto the list.
The first site would possibly be the Ruinos do Santa Domingo which are the ruins of a Gothic church which can be found at the end of the Alameda Boulevard. These ruins form part of the Museo de Pontevedra where it is possible to see Roman artefacts medieval coats of arms and tombs. The main buildings of the museum which is highly regarded and viewed as one of the best in Galicia can be found on the Praza da Lena.
All in all museums and collections house rare artefacts including Gold Celtic bracelets and necklaces and locally found Bronze Age treasures.
Alongside these ancient artefacts can be found rare paintings from down through the centuries including paintings by Zurbarin and Goya.
There are other attractions within Pontevedra amongst which is the huge Praza da Ferraria with its huge fountain in the centre. Alongside this and worthy of a mention is the Casa das Caras with its sculpted faces, the 14th Century Iglesia de San Francisco.
Perhaps the best site to see in Pontevedra is what could be described as one of the greatest monuments to Galician Architecture is the 16th Century Basilica de Santa Maria la Mayor.
The church, dedicated to Pontevedras patron saint, the Virgin de la Peregrina and is built to a circular plan and features amongst its many highlights a bow fronted façade that is well worth a visit.
All in all Pontevedra is perhaps not the tiny, boring little town in the regions that many assume it to be.