The geo-destination, Celanova - Limia, contains the municipalities: A Bola, Baltar, Bande, Calvos de Randín, Cartelle, Celanova, Entrimo, Gomesende, Lobeira, Lobios, Muíños, Os Blancos, Padrenda, Porqueira, Quintela de Leirado, Rairiz de Veiga, Ramirás, Sandiás, Sarreaus, Trasmiras, Verea, Vilar de Barrio, Vilar de Santos and Xinzo de Limia.

Celanova is a land of poets such as Curros Enríquez and Celso Emilio Ferreiro, no doubt inspired by the beauty of the surroundings. The Praza Maior of Celanova is presided over by the majestic Monastery of San Salvador, one of the Baroque gems in Galicia. Close by, the fortified pre-Roman Iron Age village of Castromao and Vilanova dos Infantes, a mediaeval town with stately homes situated round an ancient tower.

Towards the southeast, these lands merged with those of A Limia, the best potatoes in Galicia are grown. In Xinzo de Limia, they celebrate two major festivals in high style. One is "O Entroido", which runs for five Sundays and is one of the most ancient and bizarre carnivals in Spain. The other is the "Festa do Esquecemento" (Feast of Oblivion), which commemorates the crossing of the River Limia by Roman troops. The legions who got this far refused to cross it because they believe whoever did would lose his memory... Until Decimus Junius Brutus crossed it and from the other side called each soldier by name. So ended the legend and so began the festival.


The passage of the Roman legions through this area remains in the local collective imaginary. Indeed, the Antonine Itinerary mentions the 18th Via or Via Nova, which linked Braga with Astorga. From Portugal, it crosses what is now the border through Portelade Home and quickly descends. One part was rebuilt to get an idea of what it was like back then, just beyond the highest concentration of milestones existing in Galicia.

We don't have to go back far in time to find an emblematic convent: San Salvador de Celanova, with the peculiarity of a tiny, pre-Romanesque church dedicated to San Miguel in its complex. Santa Comba de Bande is pre-Romanesque, as well.

For its part, A Limia's esplanade is defended by four towers. Three of them are sure to impress anyone. These are: Sandiás (an example of how to challenge heights), A Pena (in Xinzo, dominating the northernmost part and in very good condition) and A Forxa (in the municipality of Porqueira), and one more, of which remain only the ruins on top of a mountain, which allows it to look out over the entire plain (Celma, in Rairiz de Veiga). There are at least three more fortifications that must be mentioned: Araúxo castle in Lobios – only ruins remain, but on a site that commands a spectacular view –, Vilanova Tower, in Celanova, which ended up housing the offices of the town council, and the inaccessible Sande Castle (in the town hall of Cartelle). 

Natural reserves

It is easy to deduce that spectacular landscapes predominate in pure nature, that man domesticated – but did not transform – nothing more than the lowlands. To confirm it is the increasingly visited Parque Natural de Baixa Limia-Serra do Xurés, which extends northwards through ZEC-Red Natura 2000 Baixa Limia. Together with the Portuguese territory of the Peneda-Gerês National Park, it forms the Trans-Federal Biosphere Reserve "Gerês-Xurés".

In Xurés, where the wild goat has been reintroduced, not only the high mountains ranges such as that of Santa Eufemia, but also the low spots like that of the River Caldo  with its hot springs are important. The Gerês-Xurés Biosphere Reserve – which consists of six Galician and give Portuguese municipalities –  is also cross-border A tiny meadow visited every year by the storks is also dock is also part of the Natura 2000 Network: the one in Ponteliñares, in the municipality of Rairiz de Veiga and close to the riverbed through which runs the River Limia.

The picture is not complete without mentioning that two municipalities – the aforementioned Rairiz de Veiga, along with A Bola and Vilar de Santos – are part of the Allariz Biosphere Reserve. And, incidentally, the highest waterfall in Galicia – the Corgo da Fecha, opposite the village of Torneiros (interesting granaries or canastros) – is also found in this geodestination.

Festivals and gastronomy

The Entroido (carnival) de Xinzo de Limia (which has been declared a National Tourism Event) is an event that attracts more people year after year. The Romaría da Saínza – a bloodless battle, several centuries old, that every year confronts Moor and Christians in this tiny town (belonging to Rairiz de Veiga), with the expected defeat of the former, despite the fact that they start out occupying the castle, a small and unique building (celebrated close to the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy, in September).
For years, an ethnographic festival called Raigame has been taking place in the small, rebuilt village of Vilanova, once the most important in Celanova. On this day – always 17 May – (coinciding with the Día das Letras Galegas), not only pulpeiras (female octopus cooks) and typical bands but, above all, many artisans from all over Galicia come together.

HIGHLIGHT: Living history

The little treasure of the Celanova-Limia geodestination is called San Miguel de Celanova. This small building has remained intact for over a millennium inside the large Galician monastery and is the only memory of the time when it was ran by the almost mythical San Rosendo. It is the only early medieval Spanish monument that has not undergone any changes since it was built in the 10th century. The small oratory whose layout is unprecedented in Christian architecture is reminiscent of the arrangement of Muslim oratorios or a domestic bath in Medina al-Zahra. Another of the gems in this area is the Church of Santa Comba de Bande, which is possibly the most important still-existing link for studying all the 7th-century Visigothic architecture.

But the Castro culture is also present in the Celanova-Limia geodestination in enclaves such as the archaeological site of Castromao, which happens to be one of the main references of the fortified pre-Roman Iron Age villages of the northwest Peninsula, both because of its long presence over time (at least from the 5th century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D.) and of the wealth of documents that have come to light from successive excavations and investigations that have been carried out in it. Unique pieces such as the triskelion, a tabula, a zoomorphic figure and a little treasure of coins from the 1st century, all preserved in the Museo Arqueológico Provincial.

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