Although Vilagarcía de Arousa is a relatively modern city – It took today’s shape in the second half of the 20th century – you can still find corners which show its ancient past – it was founded in mid-15th century.
Vilagarcía has on a distinguishing feature that makes it different from other towns: it is a fact that Vilagarcía is a 3-in-1 , since it was not until 1913, hardly a century ago, when three old villages – Carril, Vilagarcía and Vilaxoán – joined to constitute the current city on a geographic location which is undoubtedly medieval. Arealonga, “long sand”
was known in the late 19th and 20th centuries as “Arousa’s Shell”, a clear reference to San Sebastián’s bay, not for nothing both cities came to compete for becoming the prevailing king’s summer destination. All the historic process resulted in what we see today: three towns, three ports, almost three different natures. And this is worth mentioning it.
The Historical Tour becomes an essential way to immerse yourself in what Vilagarcía de Arousa means today.
Thus, the Historic Route becomes essential to plunge into today’s Vilagarcía de Arousa. 11 stops and 14 explanatory panels will lead the traveler along the now pedestrianized streets and squares. The route can start, if you like, in Plaza de Ravella, where we can find the Town Hall, built in the late 19th century imitating the style of old French palaces. Opposite, there is also a centenary garden with large platanaceaes. The walking route continues up to the Plaza de la Independencia, the old marketplace, and location of the pillory or picota which reminds us of the place in which Villagarcía became the first Galician city to rise against the French invasion, in 1808.
Then, the Plaza de España, also with centenary trees and opposite the parochial church, where there was a stone bridge – today a pedestrian street –connecting the church to Vistalegre, declared a national historic monument. Vistalegre consists of a convent, a church and a pazo that witnessed the birth of an archbishop of Santiago and a viceroy of Perú.
From here, and after a pleasant walk, we reach Castro de Alobre, the origin of the city and one of the most important archaeological sites in the North East of the Iberian peninsula. Just on the hillside it is Enrique Valdés Bermejo botanical park, created in the 1930’s by the Duke of Terranova who managed to bring species from countries all over the world
From the park we continue to the fresh produce market, a unique building of 1929 and an example of the regional architecture of those times, which is located on the river bank just in front of the pazo of Vistalegre. The market is a feast for the senses. Sea and land in its pure state. A step away, the old and original quarter of O Castro, which was given that name for being located close to Alobre and for being the birthplace of the city. That goes back to the time in which its founder, García de Caamaño, helped fishermen to build their houses in the mid-15th century aiming to create a permanent settlement for them, which came to result in Vila-García.
Some common features of the fishermen’s architecture, the so called, houses“del pincho” or “of the hook” can still be seen here. Very close, we can find the Plaza de la Pescadería, a remarkable building belonging to the 20th century iron architecture which today hosts the most varied cultural events in addition to the Tourist Information Office.
Then, the Alameda, the meeting point per excelance and a symbol of the old Vilagarcía and its location on the waterfront. Just inmediately after the Alameda we get into Valentín Viqueira street (the old Commerce street) and A Baldosa (back then, the square of Vegetables) today full of bars with their corresponding open air terraces. The two most appropriate places to see and to be seen, the perfect end of a route which makes us travel through the past and up to the present of the city.