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Recorriendo la Cidade Vella

By the narrow and winding cobbled streets in the old district of A Coruña you can revive its history. Here you can find most of the main landmarks and picturesque nooks of the city.

Cidade Vella is an urban grid that goes from María Pita square to the arts center curated by the Luís Seoane Foundation, and through other remarkable places like Xeneral Azcárrega square, Bárbaras convent or Santiago’s church. This is also the shopping district, with some great antique and handicrafts shops, where you can always buy something special. Of course you can also try the most remarkable specialties from the Galician cuisine at some of the bars or restaurants around this area.

Starting at María Pita square, this is the hearth of the city; named after a heroine that fought the British army, lead by the corsair Francis Drake, on 1589. At the center of the square, a monument by the artist Xosé Castiñeiras, stands in honor of this brave woman.

After the square, Santiago’s church is probably one of the oldest in the city. Romanesque, it was built during the 12-13th century, and at the west façade, the apostle Santiago is represented horseback.

Later, you will pass by evocative Azcárraga square that, in the past, was the most important square of Cidade Vella, taking to the House of the Municipality or the Artillery Depot. The most relevant events and celebrations took place here and also a great market with all sorts of products.

Near here there is the house where Galician poetess Rosalía de Castro lived, from 1870 to 1879, with her husband Manuel Murguía. She is one of the most relevant literary figures from the 19th century, a precursor to the modern poetry who helped restoring Galician own language and culture.

Walking to Bárbaras square, there is a convent founded in the 14th century, which later was taken by the Franciscan order. The name is given from a hermitage dedicated to Santa Bárbara, which was originally in this place.

Following, we find Santo Domingo church and convent, originally outside the walls of the old district but rebuilt, inside the Cidade Vella, in the first half of 17th century. The convent was expanded on 1726 but the church was demolished and nowadays there are only two chapels, Remedios and Rosario.

We’re getting closer to the viewpoint at San Carlos garden, which follows a romantic style and includes a statue dedicated to Roman Magnus Portus Artabrorum. There is also the coffin from general John Moore, which spawns interest among the British and who helped liberating the city from French troops who attacked in 1809. Initially, it was built as a defensive castle, outside the walls, in 16th century, but, little by little, its importance as a bulwark was lost and was eventually abandoned. In the 18th century it was regained as a garden designed by Carlos F. de Croix.

Getting close to the end of this route, the arts center curated by Louis Seoane Foundation, located at an old barracks that have been rebuilt, was opened in 2003. The foundation aims to disclosure the artwork and intellectual legacy from the artist, painter and writer Luis Seoane, and also to develop other exhibitions regarding contemporary culture and reflections.

Ayuntamiento by Carlos Fernández San Millán | Tumba de Sir John Moore by Marcus | Plaza Azcárraga by FirkinCat

A place well worth discovering! Check out our flights here.