The Fortress of Monterreal in Baiona stands on a rocky promontory, Monte Boi, and it is also known as the Gondomar Castle and Ox Hill Fortress, apparently. The promontory juts out into the bay and in the past has been occupied by Phoenicians, Romans, and Celts. ‘Gondomar’ – doesn’t that remind you of Tolkien? Today The Parador Conde de Gondomar is a wonderful luxury hotel inside the walls.
The Fortress of Monterreal
The walls of the Fortress
The walls of the Fortress are 3kms in total, all crenellated. There is a lovely walk around the outside of the Fortress, at sea level, with beautiful views and it is particularly wonderful in the evening. The walls, built between the 11C and 17C, tower over you all the way round, as the light fades. The Cies Islands in the distance were the site of a major sea battle in the 16C. They looked interesting from the Paseo.
Towers of the Fortress
There are three significant towers in the Fortress of Monterreal. The Tower of the Clock is near the main entrance, and the Philip IV Gate. A bell in the tower was rang to warn of enemy attack. The Torre de Tenaza overlooks the harbour with the purpose of defending the port. On the opposite side of the promontory the Tower of the Prince, the oldest tower, guards the entrance to the Bay. It is named after a Portuguese King, Alfonso Henriques, who was imprisoned in the tower in 1137.
Gates into the Fortress
I found three gates into the fortress and apparently there used to be four. The main gate or Philip IV gate is 16C and leads down to the Barbeira beach. The Sun Gate is the second gate and stands under the Clock Tower. But there is also the Puerta Real which I believe leads into the Fortress.
The Bay of Monterreal
What a magical place – the Fortress of Monterreal.
A useful brochure from the Tourist Office
The 1st Count of Gondomar and here and here and here
The Parador in Baiona | London Traveller
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