Ribadeo is on the River Eo, just a short distance from the sea, and on the border between Galicia and Asturias. We only had two and a half days in the town and so I had just a glimmering of the layers of time in Ribadeo.
The Plaza Espana and the 20C
A large park in the centre of the town is a cheerful open space. Historic buildings surround the Plaza Espana which is a cheerful and friendly open space filled with colourful plants of the 20C.
Buildings and the 20C & the 19C
The historic centre of the town was designated a site of Cultural and Historic Interest in 2005. A number of emigrants to the Americas returned to the town in the late 19C and early 20C and there was a boom in economic and industrial developments. These returning emigrants, Los Indianos, built beautiful and spacious homes for themselves. They also invested in social enterprises in the town.
The Moreno brothers, Juan and Pedro Moreno Ulloa, made a fortune from their plantations and cattle in the Argentine. They built a town for their workers and they were generous philanthropists to their home town of Ribadeo. They commissioned the Torre de los Moreno in 1914-15 from an Argentinian architect and an engineer who strongly admired Gaudi. Torre de los Moreno is on the Plaza Espana and a landmark in the town today. They also gave money for the local cemetery and the chapel. I am not clear how the building is used today, but it is obviously being restored.
The Town Hall & 18C
The Marquis of Sargadelos, Antonio Raimundo Ibanez, built himself a palace, the Pazo Ibanez in the late 18C. Today it is the City Council headquarters in Ribadeo.
Rua Ibanez and the 16C-18C
This road leads down to the port and the former Customs House. At the top end of the street houses carry coats of arms of the aristocratic families in the town.
Santa Maria del Campo
This parish church, created in 1835, was originally a Franciscan Monastery. On the outside only the 14C doorway gives a hint at the age of the site.
Convent of Santa Clara in the 14C
The Convent of Santa Clara is a closed convent in the centre of the town. It started as a beguinage, a community of lay women, in the 11C and became a convent in the 14C.
The 12C town
The first town here dates to the 12C, with settlement of Cabanela and the docks of Porcillan. In 1183 the settlement was given city status and the right to hold a market. I didn’t have a map of the Mediaeval town but I could see signs of it hidden around corners.
The Chapel of Atalaya (watchtower) was built on the city walls in the 12C by Ferdinand II. It overlooks the mouth of the river and in the Middle Ages burning torches placed here guided the sailors into the harbour.
Were the Romans ever in this area? I don’t know! But apparently from c.1,500BC onwards people lived in this area. All these layers of time in Ribadeo – how I wished I had longer to explore! It reminded me of other towns on rivers, such as Mertola, Villafranca, and Landerneau.