If we talk about Cambados, probably the best known names are either the Pazo de Fefiñáns or the ruins of Santa Mariña. However, this town hides other places that can be of great interest to its visitors. One of its institutions most linked to the town is the old people’s home located in the San Tomé do Mar neighbourhood. This area of Cambados is a seafaring neighborhood that has a small urban beach where many residents leave their boats. Through it, you can also get to the well-known Tower of San Sadurniño.
Currently, the asylum is managed by the Catholic Order of the Orden Católica Hermanitas de Los Ancianos Desamparados who are helpless and is called the Residence Nuestra Señora de Valvanera, but its past was not always as a residence for the elderly. It is a baroque building that was built in the 18th century by the Marquises of Montesacro, hence its previous name with which it is also associated today: Pazo de Montesacro. It is also an important religious reference because it guards the chapel of La Valvanera. In this chapel, the Virgin of Valvanera is venerated, a tradition transferred from La Rioja, the place where the Marquises came from. Therefore, it also belongs to the historical complex that represents the Pazo de Montesacro. This had been the property of the couple formed by the last Marquis of Montesacro, Ramiro Hernán Luyando y Varela de Luaces and Juana María Grisone e Vezzozo. The death of the Marquis at the end of 1939 caused his wife, who had no children, to decide to sell it. After this, the religious order decided to buy it to turn it into an asylum, an aspect that would not be possible without the help of Manuel Otero, an important businessman in Cambados.
The new asylum opened in 1939 replacing the Pazo de Montesacro from March 19th, so this year 2020 was the 81st anniversary of its opening. From the beginning, it was run by nuns of the congregation of the Hermanitas de Los Ancianos Desamparados who were helpless, even though it was not the first asylum in Cambados. The nuns previously opened a residence in the Pazo de Torrado but for reasons of space they sold it and looked for a new place to carry out their work.
Many of the most important celebrations in the town are related to this building. For example, it is an obligatory stop during the Cavalcade of the Three Kings and the starting point for the carnival parades. In addition, various campaigns have been carried out in favour of the asylum by the shopkeepers’ association and they receive visits from various musical groups that perform for their residents.
To access both the pazo and the chapel, there are two staircases located to the left and right of the architectural complex that makes them up. On the facade of the building, there are several details worthy of note that leave evidence of its roots, such as the family coat of arms of Zárate and Murga in its upper central part. Today, despite its changes in ownership and use, it is still an important place in Cambados that represents a lot to its inhabitants.