Landscapes on the Camino: Triacastela

The Camino de Santiago is one of the main driving forces behind rural tourism in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. Most pilgrims undertake their tour for religious reasons or for personal fulfillment, but before reaching the goal of Santiago de Compostela, they come across beautiful natural surroundings and villages that coexist peacefully with their history and tradition. This is the case of Triacastela, a municipality of Lugo belonging to the region of Sarria. This small town, which has less than a thousand inhabitants, is overwhelmed in times of greater influx of pilgrims.

Triacastela has a mountainous landscape. It is located in the foothills of the Sierras Orientales among which stands out the Sierra de O Oribio with 1,443 m. altitude. Its green fields, populated with carballeiras and soutos, are watered by the vicinity of the river Santalla.

triacastela-rio-santalla

The origin of the toponym is confusing. Some historians claim that it is due to the three forts whose remains can be seen down the mountain, while for others the etymology of the word “Triacastela” is based on the existence of three castles from Roman times, strategically placed on the Oribio, and whose memory has been engraved on the front of the church tower, built around 1790.

Some writings point to King Alfonso IX of León as the founder of Triacastela. It cannot be verified with accuracy, but what we do know is that the monarch played an important role in the development of this town between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

From the influence of the Camino de Santiago, important archaeological remains are preserved; monuments of sacred art and buildings that were once linked to the pilgrimages: churches, temples, inns, prisons and old hospitals.

In 2012 a team from the USC found in excavations in the Cova Eirós the first samples of Paleolithic rock art in the northwest of the Peninsula. However, for the moment only archaeologists are allowed to enter, so we will focus on those places of tourist value that we can visit without impediments during our tour to Santiago de Compostela.

The neighborhood of Ramil is the oldest of the town. In some documents of concessions that Count Gatón makes to the monastery, towards the second half of the IX century, it appears with the name of “villa de Ranimiro”. We do not know if it was settled over a pre-existing village or if it was newly created. In any case, it has a very considerable antiquity and, archaeologically, it follows the path of the Jacobean Route. A short distance away we find the Romanesque church, and further on we see the pilgrim’s inn that preserves architectural elements of the sixteenth century … then the Casa del Concejo and the jail, and advancing a little further, is the Hospital, and close to the Roman bridge. Let us detail a little more each of these places:

* The Church: it preserves almost in its entirety the old Romanesque plant, built in materials characteristic of the land as the slab. It is thought to have been built by order of King Alfonso IX around the 12th century.

It conserves an apse of double section, one straight and the other semicircular. The toral arch with which the apse begins follows the forms of neoclassical art.

The walls were reformed by enlarging the window-saeteras, although the most notable reform was that of the façade. According to an inscription, the tower was built around 1790 and has four bodies, three square and one hexagonal. In the lower part of the second body is the engraving of the three castles, emblem of Triacastela.

triacastela-iglesia

* Mesón del peregrino: it is located a short distance from the church, following the old road, known today as “Vía del Peregrino” (Pilgrim’s Way).

The entrance door and another one leading to the courtyard have semicircular arches, with large voussoirs resting directly on the jamb. They date from the 16th century.

The house is now renovated and used for domestic purposes, but still retains some of the original facilities, typical of these inns.

* The jail: it is located a few meters from the previous one, on the first floor of what used to be the Casa del Concejo (Council House). It dates from 1528 and today is completely renovated.

It preserves a hallway leading to two rooms, secured with strong bars and bolts. Until recently it served as a local jail.

* The hospital: today called “Casa de Pedreira”. Much of the structure of the building is preserved although somewhat blurred by successive reforms.

* Mesón da Ponte: already at the exit of the village and a few meters from the fork in the Camino, is this inn that was also a blacksmith’s shop. The building, which dates from the 16th century, is in ruins, but we can still glimpse traces of its former importance: a strong tower and two doors with semicircular arches resting directly on the jambs.

On leaving Triacastela there are two alternatives to reach Sarria (our next stop): one through San Xil and the other through Samos. In our “Camino Pambretours” we will visit both places. During the day we will walk to San Xil and in the afternoon by car we will visit the monastery of Samos, one of the oldest in Spain.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you want more information about our routes or our Camino modalities.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top