Landscapes on the Camino: Sarria

A few days ago we told you in this blog about the beauty of the landscapes of O Cebreiro and its cultural richness as one of the most important enclaves within the Jacobean route. Today we will focus on another must-see place in our tour to Santiago de Compostela: the municipality of Sarria.

Located about 31 km south of Lugo, Sarria has a prominent role in the Camino de Santiago. On the one hand, it has an important medieval architectural legacy, and on the other hand it is the starting point for many pilgrims who begin their tour here (it is 111 km from Santiago, and the minimum distance to obtain the Compostela is 100 km).

King Alfonso IX of Castile and Leon founded this town in the 12th century under the name of Vilanova de Sarria. During the Middle Ages it was linked to the Trastámara and the County of Lemos. From this period date a large number of castles and fortresses (some of them already demolished) that belonged to the nobles and noble families of the region.

However, the first settlements took place in very remote stages, as evidenced by their megalithic burials, although it is difficult to determine who were the first settlers. Also dating from this period are the castros, or fortified settlements of pre-Roman origin (San Cosme da Pena, Outeiro de Goián).

The Camino de Santiago contributed to the cultural expansion and wealth of the region of Sarria, attracting some institutions and religious orders that were responsible for building shelters, convents and hospitals. The convent of La Magdalena or the churches of Santa Mariña and El Salvador stand out for their beauty.

Already in the Modern Age, Sarria receives a new impulse thanks to the commerce and the local industry that manages to emerge with the improvement of the roads and the arrival of the railroad. In 1885 the new church of Santa Mariña, run by the Mercedarian Fathers, was founded and the first public schools were opened.

Today, some places of interest that we can visit in Sarria during our tour to Santiago de Compostela are:

* The tower of Sarria: built in the 13th century by the Counts of Lemos. It had several moats, counter moats and a drawbridge. It is thought that originally there were five towers, but nowadays only one of them is preserved, built in granite masonry and with its battlements intact. It was demolished in the Irmandiñas revolts and later rebuilt by Pedro Osorio.


* Church of San Salvador de Sarria: a small chapel with a single nave built around the 13th century. It has solid granite walls and a facade with a double archivolt pointed arch characteristic of the Gothic architectural style. The arch is supported by two pairs of attached columns with capitals decorated with vegetal and zoomorphic motifs. The façade is crowned by a belfry dating from 1860.


* Monastery of the Magdalena: also known as the convent of the Mercedarian Fathers who ran it around 1896. Its foundation dates from the 13th century by Italian monks who followed the rule of St. Augustine to serve pilgrims.
Its facade is of Renaissance style and has in its interior several tombs and coats of arms of noble families. The cloister is Romanesque in transition to Gothic.

With the disentailment of Mendizabal, the monastery became a prison and barracks until the Mercedarian Fathers took charge of it at the end of the 19th century.


* Church of Santa Mariña de Sarria: the original building was from the 13th century but was replaced in 1885 by the present one due to its ruinous state. Its beautiful spire tower stands out.


* Chapel of San Lázaro: it dates back to the 18th century and is the only remaining part of an old hospital lazaretto from the 15th century.


* Casa da Cultura: built in the 19th century, it was a donation from the Sarria businessman Matías López y López to house the first public schools in Sarria.

* Parque do Chanto: conceived as a natural space and recreational complex on the banks of the Sarria River. It has several sports courts, picnic areas, municipal swimming pools, river beach, skate park, bike track and sports centers.

In our article today we wanted to list some places of tourist interest that we can enjoy on our tour to Santiago de Compostela, but in this beautiful Galician region we will find many places of great beauty and historical value: stately mansions of the nineteenth century, several Romanesque churches distributed throughout its municipalities and local antique shops. Lovers of good food will be delighted with the tasty traditional cuisine in which stand out the stews, pies, octopus or grilled meats.

We invite you to inform you without obligation about the advantages of doing your Camino de Santiago tour with us and live your experience as a pilgrim enjoying the best rural tourism in Galicia.

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