The geo-destination, Terras de Ourense e Allariz, contains the municipalities: A Merca, Allariz, Baños de Molgas, Barbadás, Coles, Maceda, O Pereiro de Aguiar, Ourense, Paderne de Allariz, San Cibrao das Viñas, Taboadela, Toén, Vilamarín and Xunqueira de Ambía.
Ourense, noble and Roman, from the banks of the River Miño. Allariz, royal and monumental, from the banks of the River Arnoia.
Ourense is the city of water. The symbols of the city are the Santo Cristo, the Puente Romano Bridge and the spring of spring of As Burgas, which springs forth at 65 º right in the town centre. It also has a well-preserved Old Town, full of bars and terraces, and also – perhaps to make amends – a wonderful cathedral. In recent years, the banks of the River Miño have become another major boulevard in the city, with a carefully maintained hot springs route that is, in many cases, free.
Allariz, which dates back to the 6th century, has received the European Prize for Urban Planning for the recovery of the old town and the river. A royal residence in the Middle Ages, this is where young Alfonso X the Wise was raised, and it is not surprising that the beauty of the surroundings inspired some of his 'Cantigas'.
Among other attractions, this geodestination features the Way of St. James, here called the Southeast Way/Siver Way. A double path (it forks into two paths beginning in A Gudiña) that allows one to discover small settlements with important histories such as Xunqueira and its coleggiate church. The route crosses through Allariz and, shortly after, through an enclave called Armeá– tiny but with an important history – next to Santa Mariña de Augas Santas and its large, unfinished church. The fortified pre-Roman Iron village of Armeá (where stone warriors that can be admired in the Museo Arqueolóxico de Ourense were found) and this church/basilica were declared a Historic/Artistic Complex. Worth a visit is the Os Fornos da Santa crypt; the Saint was about to be burned to death, but was pulled to safety by divine intervention.
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Two heavyweights lead this geodestination: the towns of Ourense and Allariz, each with many attention-getting monuments. The capital of the province is well known both for its association with the River Miño as with the Roman world. In the capital, several bridges cross over the River Miño, and a modern promenade runs along the shore. The well-known Burgas hot springs – a refurbished space on the edge of the Old Town, where the Cathedral dominates – are very representative of the hot springs capital of Galicia. The late Romanesque church was built beginning in the 12th century, was declared a basilica in 1837 and a National Monument in 1931. It's important not to forget to visit the Museo Arqueolóxico.
Allariz was fortunate to retain its main centre virtually intact, with its streets and buildings made of granite. Its exemplary refurbishment was awarded the Europa Nostra Award, and today the village is a model of sustainable Galician tourism. Its museums make up a small network that – along with strengthening the 'con encanto' (charming) hospitality industry and the affection with which the banks of the river are treated – attracts thousands of visitors. Upon leaving the Old Town, it is time to take a look at the Romanesque bridge of Vilanova.
Among local monuments, noteworthy are the Baños de Molgas, the pre- Romanesque Chapel of Santa Eufemia de Ambía and the shrine of Os Milagres on Monte Medo. Notable examples of popular architecture we can discover include the complex of granaries in A Merca and the houses of the gentry in Sobrado do Bispo (Barbadás).
The Maios is an ancestral Galician tradition still energetically celebrated in Ourense. The whole province becomes one big party with strong participation tied to the chesnut festival – popular in the autumn – but it is in the capital where that event has been declared an official Galician Tourism Event, like the previous one.
Not as old – but with a few centuries to its name, since it began in 1317 and now enjoys the same classification – is the Festa do Boi, with the streets of Allariz serving as a stage during the Corpus.
The city of Ourense is intrinsically linked with water. The River Miño that runs through the city flows under its six bridges. The Viaducto, the Ponte Nova, the Pasarela do Vao, the Ponte Romana, the Ponte do Milenio and the Ponte do Ribeiriño are tourist attractions in and of themselves because of their unique layout and the architectural changes they reflect and that one can enjoy strolling the river promenade on either of its two banks.
Water – hot this time – has also become the most identifying sign of the province's capital. Ourense is also called the 'the city of the Burgas hot springs', because of its hyperthermal springs, rich in silicate, fluoride and lithium salts that have significant dermatological properties; its name is believed to have originated from the Latin burca, which means 'basin', referring to the Roman baths. There are three Burgas hot springs – the upper, the middle and the lower – in popular, modern and neoclassical styles, respectively, and which are the starting point of an outdoor thermal complex on the banks of the River Miño.