Parks and gardens in Santiago de Compostela (Part 1)

Shady in summer, nostalgic in autumn and full of color in spring, parks and gardens are part of the soul of cities.

It is difficult to imagine a city as historic as Compostela without its peaceful green areas, a landscape quality for which it has received several international awards and prizes.

The feeling of closeness to nature experienced by travelers and pilgrims visiting Compostela is difficult to describe. Many of these urban images are already an indelible part of the memory of the city and of the Camino de Santiago itself.

In the mid-twentieth century urban development brought with it an increase in housing and also in the natural spaces that surround them. Some of the most beautiful parks and gardens that we can visit during our visit are the following:

1) Alameda Park

With an area of 56,087 m2, since the nineteenth century it has been the reference point for the walks of the people of Santiago de Compostela.

It is composed of three distinct parts: the Alameda promenade, the carballeira (“oak grove”) of Santa Susana and the Herradura promenade.

The Alameda Park is a natural meeting point between the rural and urban parts of Santiago.

In addition to its leafy groves, we can recognize in it some monuments of historical value:

* At the entrance of the park we see an 18th century fountain decorated with the emblems of the Fonseca family.

* The sculpture of the Two Marías: it was erected in memory of two beloved characters of Compostela’s life, the sisters Coralia and Maruxa, who always walked through the streets of the city at two o’clock sharp holding each other’s arms.

* Music box (1894) by the municipal architect Daniel García Vaamonde.

* Monument to the Galician poet Rosalía de Castro (1917) and to the Spanish Navy Admiral Méndez Núñez (1880).

* Church of the Pilar: simple work of the 18th century. It is surrounded by small ponds built around 1947.

* Monument to the Leiteira: work of the sculptor Fernando García Blanco from Santiago de Compostela.

It also deserves special attention the carballeira of Santa Susana, possible place of settlement of an ancient castro. In this same place we can find a church dedicated to the saint, co-patron saint of the city, whose remains were transferred to Compostela by Archbishop Xelmirez from the Portuguese city of Braga in 1102.

Of this primitive church already mentioned in the Codex Calixtinus, the portico and the cross that crowns the pediment are preserved. The present construction was erected in the 17th century, with the addition of the bell tower in the 19th century. The altarpiece is from the beginning of the 18th century.

2) San Domingos de Bonaval

With its 36,963 m2 it is the second lung of the city after the Alameda.

In this romantic walk we will find remains of primitive walls, fountains, stairs, ramps and large wooded areas. It is a park with spaces suitable for all kinds of outdoor activities.

Tourists can also enjoy incredible views of the rooftops of the city and a space for an auditorium where music concerts, theater and cinema are scheduled in summer. Children have at their disposal an area for puppet and puppet theater.

One of the main attractions of the place is the sculpture of the artist Eduardo Chillida Puerta de Música. According to its author: “the idea that presides over the monument is that of a very humble greeting to the Apostle. I greet him from that corner. In fact, I do it with a door, which is called Puerta de Música and which has a piece of the Camino in the lower part, in stone”.

We can also see a sculpture by the Japanese artist Miyawaky.

3) Belvís Park

In its 30,604 m2 it is equipped with excellent sports courts, playgrounds, rest areas and areas specially designed for cycling.

In addition to its green spaces, we recommend visiting the chapel of San Antonio de Belvís for its monumental interest. It is related to the Galician family with the surname Sarmiento. Its altar is presided over at the bottom by the images of the Virgin of the Assumption, St. Gabriel and the Apostle Santiago. All of them from the XVI century.

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