Landscapes on the Way: Palas de Rei and the castle of Pambre

Crossing the fertile region of Ulloa, we will reach the municipality of Palas de Rei in Lugo.

The historical tradition places in this place the palace of the Visigoth king Witiza (702-710) and it is very possible that the name of the town has linguistically evolved from the word “pallantium regis”.

The most remote past of Palas de Rei was linked to the military culture (important archaeological remains are still preserved today).

Centuries later, the Camino de Santiago was an important cultural route in the region, leaving its mark on civil and religious architecture.

The Codex Calixtinus cited Palas de Rei as an obligatory stop for pilgrims following the Jacobean route (it was the end of the penultimate stage).

The Middle Ages was a very important historical period since many of the architectural works that are part of the cultural legacy of Palas de Rei were built there. We already told you about the Church of Vilar de Donas and its impressive mural paintings. But the artistic heritage of these lands is very rich: we can find several pazos, towers, castles and fortresses that are worth visiting during our tour.

For example, the simple church of San Tirso (XII century work) with its Romanesque portico stands out.

San Tirso

One kilometer from Palas de Rei is the church of San Xulián do Camiño and near it, in Curvián, we can see the Casa de Ulloa where Emilia Pardo Bazán set one of her famous novels.

Although, possibly, the most important architectural jewel of the place is the mythical castle of Pambre. Its founder was the nobleman Don Gonzalo Ozores de Ulloa (belonging to the fourth generation of the Ulloa family). He was taken prisoner in the battle of Montiel (1369) between King Pedro I and his bastard brother Enrique II. Winner of the latter, he made prisoner Don Gonzalo, supporter of Don Pedro. Once freed, he had to recover his lands that had been taken by the neighboring count Gómez das Seixas. He then decided to build a fortress in an impregnable place: the castle of Pambre (around 1375).

It is currently the best preserved castle of all Galician castles. It had the good fortune to be saved from the Irmandiñas destructions of 1467. It is therefore one of the only ancient Galician military jewels, almost entirely preserved in its external structure.

Castillo de Pambre, en Palas de Rei
It was surrounded by a strong wall, inside which is the castle, a small Romanesque church, courtyards, alpendres and a rather stately house/dwelling in which its former owners lived.

In the wall there is a large and elegant door presided by a semicircular arch and a simple coat of arms of the Ulloa family.

Through another pointed door, we access the keep. It is raised in the center of an enclosure in whose four corners square towers also rise, but lower and joined together by four other bodies of buildings. Among all this magnificent set, stand out its five towers crowned with beautiful by beautiful, very protruding and crenellated parapets. They are supported by elegant stepped corbels.

The castle of Pambre was preceded by a small village (we know this because remains of churches and other buildings of the period have been found in the vicinity). After the end of the medieval period, the castle had different owners. It belonged to the Moreiras family, the last owner being the scholar Manuel García Blanco who, at the end of his life, sold it to Manuel Taboada Fernández. This last owner abandoned the castle for years until 2009 when it became the property of the Missionary Brothers of the Sick Poor, a charitable organization in the city of Vigo.

Today this small medieval architectural jewel continues to surprise the pilgrim with its stony solemnity. It is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding monuments that we can visit during our tour.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top