Galicia – World Heritage Sites:
In our region four sites are inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List:
The Old Town and Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela: With its Baroque buildings, the Romanesque Cathedral from the 12th century and its medieval frame, the Old Town of Santiago is an extraordinary ensemble of monuments in granite. Santiago is not only the destination of all the pilgrims’ roads to the tomb of Saint James the Apostle, but it is also well-known for its gastronomy.
The Way of Saint James: The pilgrims’ route to Santiago was proclaimed the first European Cultural itinerary by the Council of Europe for its constribution to the development of European culture. Nowadays, we are witnessing a rebirth of the pilgrimage to Santiago. Thousands of pilgrims arrive to Santiago by foot, on a horseback or on bicycle. According to the rules set by the Chapter of Santiago’s Cathedral, a pilgrim must walk or ride on a horseback at least the last 100 km or cycle the last 200 km along any of the different routes to Compostela.
The Roman walls of Lugo: Although they are not the only existing Roman walls in Europe, it is the only case in which the entire circuit survives intact (more than 2 km). Lucus Augusti can be considered to be the first capital of Galicia, as it was the capital town of the Roman conventus of Gallaecia, which corresponds grosso modo to today’s Galician territory. Behind the walls, the visitor can discover Lugo’s medieval Cathedral, the coffe house streets, the wine streets and several museums.
The Tower of Hercules: It is the world’s only Roman lighthouse that is still used for maritime signaling, though it was restored in the 18th century. Located in A Coruña it is surrounded by a park with a compass rose, which represents the celtic countries with the¡r emblems. This alludes to the legendary relationship between the lighthouse and the conquest of Ireland by Breogan’s son according to Irish medieval documents.
There are four Galician cheeses with designation of origin:
Tetilla is Galicia’s best known cheese. With the highest production in our region, it has a fine, elastic, straw-coloured rind and a soft, creamy paste with few eyes. It has the shape of a cone and it matures at least after seven days.
Arzúa-Ulloa cheese is also cone-shaped, but it may be flat, too. The ripening process lasts at least 15 days. It is a soft and creamy cow’s milk cheese and it usually has no eyes.
San Simón is a smoked cheese using woods from birch-trees and has a yellow-ochre hard rind (1-3 mm). It is shaped like a cone or even a ball. It lasts at least for 60 days to ripe.
O Cebreiro may be either fresh or cured. The mixture is white, granulated, and clayey to the touch. When cured its paste is intense yellow, has a hard consistency and it matures in 2 months. When fresh it matures in 3 or 4 days. Its shape is similar to a chef’s hat.
The D.O. Rías Baixas: in the southwest of the province of Pontevedra. Its reputation is mainly based on the albariño grape, which is the most plantedvariety, too. Other white grapes which may be blended with albariño include treixadura, loureira and caíño. It produces fruity, young white wines with an alcohol content of about 12 per cent
Ribeiro: It is Galicia’s most popular wine and spans the western valleys of Ourense. Ribeiro does not refer to the grape, but to the region, which became a DO. They are aromatic, fruity, crisp white wines. The grapes used are treixadura, loureira and caíño, but albariño grapes have also been planted in this area.
Ourense’s wines: the Galician Government has also awarded the DO status to three other wines from Ourense. Located in the easternmost zone of the province, the Valdeorras wine uses the godello grape for white wines and mencía for red wines. The Ribeira Sacra wine (whose grapes are godello, albariño or mencía), in the north, is usually planted in steep terraces in the river Sil canyons. Finally, the DO Monterrey, in the south, uses mencía, bastardo and araúxa grapes for red wines and dona branca or verdello for white wines. It may have alcoholich strength of 12 per cent.