Guarda stretches down the hillsides to its harbour on the Atlantic sea. We only stopped for a brief look, coffee, and a chat with the bartender, but I would like to return. The town has a long history, with invasions by Vandals and Romans, somewhere a parish church built over a 10C building, and in the hill above, the settlement of Santa Tecla (Santa Tegra in Gallegan) which developed from 200BC. Why these settlements? Trade perhaps – the Minho River is deep and long and Guarda is on the coast.
The remains of a Benedictine Monastery built by the Sotomayor family in 1558 overlooks the harbour. (Pedro Madruga, the Sotomayor responsible, was a powerful presence in east Galicia in the 15C.) The Chapel retains its purpose, but the monastery is a hotel. The Benedictine order, the Black Friars, was the order on which the Cistercians based their philosophy.
Castro Santa Tecla
The settlement of Castro de Santa Tecla overlooks Guarda. It was only rediscovered in 1913 when a road was built up the hill. The era of these hill forts, or castro, was apparently 900BC-c.100AD. I had not heard of these settlements before and during Travel in Spain we visited two.
We returned to Baiona over the hills where we found wild horses, apparently introduced to the area by the monks at Oia.
And then, suddenly, the bay opened up below us.
You may be interested in
The District of Tui
The Sotomayor Castle
An article by a descendant of the Sotomayor family
The Benedictine Monastery (in Spanish)
Castros in Spain
A useful website for information about Spain
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