5 plans to get to know Rianxo

This municipality in O Barbanza, in the province of A Coruña, is located in a protected area of the Arousa estuary, next to the Ulla estuary. It is well known for its fish, its seafood, its song (A Rianxeira), its beaches, its archaeological heritage… It is also known for being the birthplace of Castelao, Rafael Dieste and Manuel Antonio. Do you want to know more about Rianxo? Here are five essential destinations:

Castelao Route. Wherever we go, there is no escape, you can tell that Castelao was here, and he may still be in spirit, adding more points to his route… This walk takes time, as it has no less than 33 locations related to Castelao, identified with numbered ceramic plaques. In addition, the route’s website (http://roteirocastelao.gal/) offers a digital map and explanatory texts. Some of the most significant stops are: the Town Hall; Castelao Square; the Manuel Antonio Museum; the Aguirre family house, where Castelao lived and briefly practised as a doctor; the Martelo house; the Dieste family house; the cinema; the cursed village of Abuín… The walk ends in the atrium of the church of Asados, in one of the crosses that Castelao drew in his book As cruces de Pedra de Galicia. The artist liked the subject. Could it have something to do with the fact that Rianxo alone has more than 188 cruceiros?

Castelo da Lúa. Next to the mouth of the river Te, next to the beach of A Torre, a rocky peninsula juts out into the sea, which was once used to build a fortress as a defence against Norman incursions and so on. Today, from the pedestrian walkway that leads to the beach, we have a good view of the remains of the castle, the foundations of what was an important medieval construction, with its tower, walls, moat and drawbridge. It seems that the castle did not belong to the lúa (moon), but to Paio Gómez Chariño, the first lord of Rianxo in the 13th century, who was also a poet. The fortress, between times of splendour and revolts, was demolished and rebuilt several times. In the 15th and 16th centuries it was used as a prison and, in the 18th century, as a pottery factory. Over time, it fell into disrepair and was used as a quarry for construction in the area. The name Castelo da Lúa probably comes from the surname Luna, although the legend gives us a more romantic and sad explanation. Apparently, the telltale moonlight thwarted the escape of a couple in love in a boat from the castle.

Pico da Muralla viewpoint. It is at the top of Mount da Muralla or Mount Picudo, between the municipalities of Lousame and Rianxo. The viewpoint is a modern one, inaugurated in 2020, and has a large platform with a balcony to enjoy the spectacle, and panels that give a name to what we see from there. On a clear day, you can see up to 80 km to the south, without exaggeration, and you can even see the Vigo estuary and the Cíes islands. And what else can we see: the Muros and Noia estuary, Mount Louro, Santiago (those peaks with the cathedral towers?), the Arousa estuary, the islands of Cortegada, Arousa, Ons, O Grove, A Toxa and, of course, the Barbanza and Rianxo mountains. Of course, you should take some warm clothes, as the wind blows there. It blows so much that it is used by a wind farm on the same mountain.

Hórreo de Araño. In Traba, in the parish of Araño, there is an architectural complex made up of the church of Santa Baia, the chapel of Nuestra Señora de los Milagros, a dovecote, the rectory and… the longest hórreo (traditional granary) in the world! 37.05 m long, 2.40 m wide, 2.70 m high and a capacity of 170 m2. It seems that there was a lot to store… Unlike the next largest hórreos (the one in Carnota and the one in Lira), this one has no feet. The construction dates from the 16th century, and consists of a chamber made of aligned horizontal stone blocks, tile roof, and a stone base. The access stairs are on the side facing the church. Within its sobriety, the quarry tornarratos and the surmounts, topped by a cross with a pinnacle on each side, stand out. The hórreo is very present in the parish, in fact, from the 8th to the 10th of December, a new edition of the Ciclo Hórreo Vivo (Living Hórreo Cycle) is being held, with activities and shows for all ages.

Museum of the Sea. In the Castelao square, in what is known as Casa do Coxo, we find this centre of ethnographic and anthropological interest, which brings us closer to the culture of Rianxo, which is above all the culture of the sea. The first floor is dedicated to traditional boats and their construction, with a thematic library about the sea; the ground floor is an exhibition room about the sea and fishing and, in the basement, we can see what a carpentry workshop is like, with all its tools, samples of wood, and all the gadgets that the carpenters used to make the boats. The museum is open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 15:00 h.

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