A Guarda is one of the most important touristic locations in Galicia, mainly due to the Santa Trega mountain, a must to visit spot by its interesting values such as its archaeological, religious and landscaping heritage. The citania (“village”) of Santa Trega is considered one of the most important examples of the Castrexo-roman Culture of the Northwest of Spain. The religious legacy is materialized with the Via Crucis, the San Francisco cruceiro (“stone cross”) and the Santa Trega hermitage. The mountain has two peaks, called O Facho and San Francisco, offering amazing panoramic views of the mouth of the Miño River, Portugal, The Atlantic Ocean and the O Rosal Valley.
CITANIA (village) OF SANTA TREGA
The large archaeological site occupies a 20 hectares area, of which only a small part has been dug. The documented origins are from the 4th century b.C., it reached its most important development in the changing era. In the peninsula of the Trega it was developed a truly city, with a population of between 3000 and 5000 inhabitants, where the Mediterranean and Atlantic cultures were met. The Society Pro Monte, founded in 1912 thanks to the interest of the indianos (“returned emigrants”) from A Guarda, undertook the first archaeological excavation campaigns on which participate successively Ignacio Calvo, Cayetano Mergelina, Manuel Fernández and De la Peña Santos. At the beginning of the 2016 the last one was ended, it was led by Rafael Rodriguez and funded by the Deputation of Pontevedra and the Spanish Ministry of Development, and it consisted in dig again the already studied area between 1928-1933 by the archaeologist of the University of Valladolid, Cayetano Mergelina y Luna.
The Archeological Museum of Sta. Trega (MASAT) is located in a building that was designed to be a restaurant by the architect from O Porriño, Antonio Palacios. By popular acclaim the Society Pro Monte bought and adapted the building that was inaugurated as Museum in 1953, all of the archaeological remains that were warehoused in a local at the downtown of A Guarda until that moment were deposited on it. The MASAT displays a complete collection of stone carvings with triskelions and swastikas, roman coins, ceramic objects, glass… and like singular pieces stand out a superb terminals of a torc decorated with fine filigree and the Cabezón (“big head”) of the Trega, the more emblematic found of the recent excavation works.
HERMITAGE OF SANTA TREGA
At the San Francisco peak is placed the Santa Trega hermitage. Possibly the nun Egeria after to come back of her pilgrimage to Orient, encouraged the devotion for Saint Thecla to the Baixo Miño hermits at the High Middle Ages. Although the existence of an hermitage is already recorded since the 12th century, it was with the renovations and enlargements at the 16th and 17th centuries that attained its current appearance. The archaeological excavations made in 1994 led to the discovery of several visigoths sepulchers that showed the religiosity of the place.
CROSSES & CRUCEIRO (stone cross)
As a sign of the important religious tradition and the veneration to the martyr from Iconium are celebrated various religious festivities such as the romeria (in which the families spend the day together in the mountain with a typical meal) on September 23rd in her honor or the hundred-year-old procession of Voto, it takes place on the last saturday of August. On the procession, the devotees go through the stations of the modern Via Crucis (Way of the Cross), a Vincent Mengual’s work, sculptor from Valencia, that replaced the previous one that had been made in a more plain style. In front of the hermitage rises a 16th century cruceiro (stone cross), dedicated to San Francisco, that remembers the presence of the order in A Insua, the small portuguese island just at the confluence of the river and the sea.
Santa Trega mountain raises as an excellent natural scenic overlook with breathtaking and magnificent views to the Miño river Estuary, Portugal, the O Rosal valley and the Atlantic ocean. Along the ascent of the mountain different viewing points allow to discover the environment in detail. Two summits stand out at the top of the mountain: O Facho, a peak with 328 metres height that offers a broad panoramic above the O Rosal valley, the downtown and the fishing port of A Guarda. In the past a fire (facho) was set alight in the nights to indicate to the near settlements there were no danger, with a second fire they informed the presence of sea intruders. San Francisco peak is the highest point of the mountain with 341 meters height, it shows superb panoramic views, its name makes reference to the orientation looking to the mouth of the river and the small island A Insua, where franciscan monks lived. In this peak there is the car and bus parking, the hotel, the Santa Trega chapel, the MASAT and a petroglyph in the highest zone.
FOOTPATHS OF THE TREGA
A network of nature trails, mainly paved, and official paths such as the hiking route “PR-G 122 Camiños do Trega” allow to know in depth the Santa Trega Mountain. There are seven different footpaths which sometimes cross, together make a total distance of 7 kilometres. Those trails allows for enjoy calmly the resources and values which the mountain hides.
The different regular guided visits offered by the Patronato of the Santa Trega Mountain (municipal) provide to our visitors the opportunity to find out in detail the heritage, both the built and the intangible, that the mountain keeps hidden. These are free tours and don’t need booking, you just have to pop up at the meeting point on time. The timetables and lengths change depending on the season. Besides the regular visits, is possible to book guided tours for groups (minimun 10 pax), the price for the arranged group visits is 2.5€ per adult and 0.5€ per child under 14 (It includes the access rate).