The geo-destination, Terras de Santiago, contains the munipalities: Ames, A Baña, Arzúa, Boimorto, Boqueixón, Brión, Cerceda, Curtis, Frades, Melide, Mesía, Negreira, Ordes, Oroso, O Pino, Padrón, Rois, Santa Comba, Santiago de Compostela, Santiso, Sobrado, Teo, Toques, Touro, Tordoia, Trazo, Val do Dubra, Vedra and Vilasantar.

These are lands with a great artistic and architectural heritage. Such as the monastery of Sobrado dos Monxes, a masterpiece of Renaissance and Baroque in Galicia. And in Santiago de Compostela – in addition to the Cathedral and the Old Quarter – the ultramodern Cidade da Cultura a spectacular architectural design that raises passions, the work of Peter Eisenman.

Terras de Santiago draws a map of roads that meet at the Camino de Santiago. A spiritual path that is not free of gastronomic delights.  In Arzúa, the Northern Way meets up with the earlier Ways, perhaps because nobody wants to miss the delights of Arzúa-Ulloa cheese. And, on the banks of the Sar, Padrón – the birthplace of writers such as Rosalía de Castro and Nobel Prize laureate C. J. Cela, awaits those who arrive by sea with the best of its garden, the famous Padrón peppers (Herbón peppers). And for dessert – after honouring the Apostle – the eponymous Santiago cake (Tarta de Santiago). Terras de Santiago, tasty ways.

Heritage

Eight Ways to Santiago form the backbone of this geodestination, permeating it with traces of Jacobean culture. The (Southeast Way) crosses through the towns of Vedra and Boqueixón. The Portuguese Way reaches Santiago through Padrón, Rois and Teo, the Muxía – Fisterra Way crosses through Ames, Negreira and Santa Comba, the English Way through Ordes and Oroso, the French Way  passes through Melide, Arzúa and O Pino in its final stretch, the Northern Way through Sobrado, Boimorto, Arzúa and O Pino and the Primitive Way through Toques, Melide, Arzúa and O Pino. Historically, the Sea Route of Arousa ended in Padrón.

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Over the centuries, the passing of pilgrims through this destination left behind a trail of artistic, architectural and cultural expression that has survived to our day and that identifies this land as a tourist destination. The majestic Cathedral of Santiago is located in the Praza do Obradoiro of the capital of Galicia as the most powerful symbol of an entire civilisation. Worthy of special mention in this geodestination is the city of Santiago de Compostela – declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 (the French Way is also a World Heritage Site where it crosses through Spain and France and was declared the first European cultural route) –, which forms the cornerstone of this land and is the destination of all of the Ways.

In addition to the Cathedral and the squares adjacent to it, Santiago has infinite heritage sites that make up the architectural and cultural jewel it is today. The Hostal dos Reis Católicos, the Colegiata de Sar, the Pazo de Xelmírez, the Convent of San Martiño Pinario, the Convent of San Paio de Antealtares, the Church of San Domingos de Bonaval and the Museum of O Pobo Galego, the church of the Convent of Santa Clara, the Museum of Terra Santa, and so on, along with new constructions such as the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea and the spectacular Cidade da Cultura de Galicia, dedicated to knowledge and contemporary creativity and that enables the integration of an instrument for the cultural development of Galicia in a construction that is unique and globally recognised. These are just some of the main tourist attractions of a city open to the world.

The magnificent and rich heritage of Terras de Santiago makes this geodestination a world of possibilities for anyone interested in Jacobean worship and culture, but also in civil architecture, in natural settings, fortifications and in popular customs and traditions.

Some of the most outstanding examples of the artistic and monumental heritage of this area of Galicia are the megalithic constructions in Terras de Santiago. The Dolmen dos Cabaleiros (in Tordoia) – also known as Casa da Moura – is an Historic and Artistic Monument and is a magnificent example of Neolithic funerary architecture in the northwest Peninsula. 

Among the religious heritage of this part of Galicia, worth highlighting are shrines such as Santa María de Herbón and the Church of Santiago de Padrón that keeps watch over the Pedrón (a Roman altar dedicated to Neptune, where – according to tradition – the stone boat carrying the body of St. James was moored). Also of great importance are the Churches of San Vicente in A Baña, the Churches of Santa María and Sancti Spiritus in Melide, the Church of San Antolín in Toques, the Church of Santa María de Mezonzo in Vilasantar, the Church of Santa María de Lampai in Teo, the Church in Bastavales (to which Rosalía de Castro sings in her poems) and the Church of St. Mary and in murals in Boimorto.   

The Way of Saint James gives rise to the appearance of numerous historic and heritage elements associated with the route scattered throughout the entire area, such as the Baroque fountain and the Chapel of O Santiaguiño in Vedra. In Arzúa, the lime kilns of A Castaneda, they picked up small stones carried by the pilgrims during the period of construction of the basilica in Compostela. In Negreira – besides the magnificent Pazo do Cotón and unique area of A Ponte Maceira with the Pazo de Baladrón – is the Pazo da Chancela, on whose coat of arms one can see the bridge that, once destroyed, cut off access to those pursuing the disciples of Saint James fleeing the Romans in Finisterre. In Brión, there is the Castro Lupario – dominated by Queen Lupa and bounded by walls – in Boqueixón, the Pico Sacro presides over the surrounding landscape and is linked to the tradition of the Traslatio of the Apostle from Iria to Compostela. There are also local museums of great importance, such as the Casa da Matanza in Padrón, where Rosalía de Castro lived and died.

Natural reserves

Terras de Santiago offers amazing natural sites as the Ulla-Deza river system, and the Sites of Community Importance the River Tambre (and part of its estuary) and the Serra do Careón. Other sites with nature as their attraction are the Carballeira de Santa Minia in Brión and the Xardín Botánico in Padrón.

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Festivals and gastronomy

In terms of local products with a Protected Geographical Indication or Designation of Origin, noteworthy items include Galician chestnuts, Galician turnip greens, Santiago-style cake, Tetilla cheese, Arzúa-Ulloa cheese and wine with the D.O. Rías Baixas, though they are produced in other geodestinations as well.
 
Besides being home to famous writers such as Rosalia de Castro and Nobel Laureate Camilo Jose Cela and its being a town of great importance in Xacobean worship and culture, Padrón is known for one of its farm products: Padrón peppers. though the Protected Designation of Origin of this product is 'Pemento de Herbón', due to the place name of the parish that is the location the Convent of Santo Antonio de Herbón, who is linked to the introduction of this pepper from America. Interestingly, not all of these peppers are hot; the spiciness actually only occurs occasionally, hence the popular saying: 'Padrón peppers: some are hot, and some are not'. 

With regard to the most important local tourism-related celebrations and events, there are Galician Tourist Events of note such as the Filloa festival in Lestedo, the Festa do Queixo in Arzúa, the Pemento de Herbón festival (in Padrón), the Trucha de Oroso festival, the Festa do Galo de Piñeiro and Mostra Cabalar in O Pino, and the only festival declared as an International Tourism Event: the Festividade del Apóstol Santiago. In the municipalities bordering the river, the Altos de los Xenerais do Ulla take place during Carnival.

HIGHTLIGHT: Cidade da Cultura de Galicia

Located in Santiago de Compostela – emblem of the European cultural tradition, whose historic town was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 – the Cidade da Cultura de Galicia rises high on the summit of Mount Gaiás as a tremendous architectural milestone of the new century. Designed by American architect Peter Eisenman to house the finest expressions of the cultures of Galicia, Spain, Europe, Latin America and the world, this new 'city – inclusive and pluralistic – will help to meet the challenges of the information and knowledge society.

Its unique buildings – connected by streets and squares and equipped with an advanced level of technology – define a space that is excellent for reflection, discussion and action oriented towards the future of Galicia and its internationalisation. Its spaces will play host to services and activities aimed at the preservation of heritage and memory. Study, research, experimentation, production and the sharing of knowledge in the fields of literature and thought will have their part, too. There will be space for music, theatre, dance, film, the visual arts, audio-visual creation and communication.

As a place of convergence and international projection, in the 21st century the Ciudad de la Cultura de Galicia will revitalise the dual calling of the Galician people: to travel and to provide hospitality, thus enabling culture to contribute to its economic and social development.
 

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