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back Discover Vilalba  Routes  The parishes III: from Mourence to Santaballa  

Mourence (San Xiao)

The parish of Mourence can be reached going downhill to Boizán along the steep slope of the Trimaz river, where a new example of religious architecture can be found inside the church. It was built in the XVIII century and is dedicated to San Xiao.

Located between the Madalena and Trimaz rivers, the walk around the area can be completed with a visit to the Rodríguez and dos Novos bridges, the latter of which can be found in Rañego.

Added to the architectural value of both structures is the necessity of being able to cross as the parish is located between two rivers.

Gondaísque (Santa María)

Crossing the Trimaz river via the bridge of the same name, you reach the neighbouring parish of Gondaísque, where you can visit the parish church dedicated to the worship of Our Lady. It has a granite stone cross in its vestibule, which dates back to 1898 according to the inscription at its base.

Castro de Gondaísque can be found continuing the tour of the area. It is also known as “Castro Grande”, and is located on an irregular plain. This site has a main circular enclosure with several moats and parapets, and a double defensive wall. There are also remains of a large antefort and a Roman hamlet beside it (Vilar de Eimil).

Distriz (San Martiño)

Following the road to Momán and taking the Belesar road at Portocelo, you reach Distriz, where you can visit the parish church, which is dedicated to San Martiño. This temple houses a processional cross, a XVII century chalice and XVIII century carvings. The vestibule, dating back to 1889 and later reformed in 1923, houses a stone cross set on a platform consisting of four quadrangular steps.

The walk around Distriz is complete with a visit to Fontechousa where there is another stone cross on the vestibule site of the church. In Portocelo you can see a granary named after the village. This is a recently built granary, with a circular layout, wicker and plaited straw walls, with a conical roof of the same material. It was designed to commemorate the baskets which were used in the past in this area.

Tardade (Santa María)

Leaving Distriz towards the northwest you reach Tardade, a parish settlement arching the Trimaz river. A walk around the area means visiting the stone cross of Lanzán, one of the most decorated crosses in Galicia. Carved from granite in 1906, it has several figures at its base including Saint James the Moorslayer and San Roque. The post features elements from the Passion and has a figure of the Ecce Homo at its base. At the head are images surrounding the crucifixion of Christ and at the top there is a set of figures from the descent from the cross.

There are other examples of this kind of popular architecture in the parish: the roughly- made cross of Xurbal, located in the vestibule of the parish church, which was built in 1898.

Codesido (San Martiño)

Back on the road to Momán you reach the neighbouring parish of San Martiño de Codesido, where the parish church and the cemetery (which has some unique inscriptions) can be found located on an old fort settlement or castro. This is a site with an oval layout which has an enclosed area and a defensive wall.

In the vestibule of this church there is a stone cross bearing the 1882, which together with the los Remedios cross, dating back to the end of the XIX century, constitute the examples of popular architecture of the area.

The walk around the parish ends with a visit to the Codesido tower, a pazo built on the site of the tower, which reflects the majesty of the buildings of the old nobility of the land and was declared a site of cultural interest by the Galician government.

Santaballa (San Pedro)

Leaving O Alligal pond behindd, we enter the parish of Santaballa, which in spite of what the name suggests (Santa Baia), is dedicated to the patron saint San Pedro. This is due to the fact that in the past there was a sculpture of this saint which had originally come from the neighbouring parish of Lanzós because of an incident of desecration.

Beside this place of worship is a stone cross of outstanding dimensions. Next to the hermitage of Santiago de Bordelle there is another cross carved by the Carbeira stonemasons´ workshop, in the parish of Román.

What makes Santaballa of special cultural and historical interest are the Palaeolithic remains, such as the menhir known as A Pedrachantada. Located in the middle of a necropolis comprising more than twenty tombs, its function has been linked to the cult of stone crosses and roads, and for this reason some authors consider it to be evidence of the ancient predecessors of the crossroads.

Pena Grande is the name of a group of shelters from the late Palaeolithic period. This is a settlement of hunter-gatherers dating back to the time of the Altamira Cave. From here they were able to follow the movements of animals in search of pastures or water.

The journey back to the far distant past in Santaballa ends at Medoña del Estelo, a mound containing a megalithic chamber of large quartzite slabs. It forms part of the most extensive necropolis, and runs alongside the Camino Real towards Viveiro.

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