Where is Allariz?
Allariz is located in Galicia, North-West of Spain, next to important towns and cities as Ourense, Celanova, Xinzo de Limia on the Via de la Plata Camino de Santiago.
Allariz in history
Allariz was reclared town of historic and artistic interest in 1971. In the Middle Ages it was the residence of kings, among others, Alfonso X the Wise, who was brought up here, , which compiled the literary work known as the “cantigas de Santa María”. Under King Sancho IV it was awarded the title of ‘Chave do Reino de Galicia’. The presence of kings and princes led to the town being walled and fortified. Furthermore, this town gave refuge, in the outskirts of the town, to a large Jewish colony. Allariz is a mediaeval jewel set on the bank of river Arnoia since the pre-roman time.
Closely linked, during the last century firstly, to the linen industry and later to leather, Allariz previously suffered a drop in population, however, in recent years its population has increased and currently it has around 6,000 inhabitants located in its 16 parishes
If you are walking the Camino Via de la Plata at this time of the year you can´t miss Entroido (Galician Carnival) since Xinzo de Limia, Laza, Verin are near to Allariz, and everybody feels this festival as a special date to enjoy and celebrate. Besides, Allariz also has its own festival as every town and village in this region of Galicia.
What you should visit:
The Jewish Quarter: Founded in the thirteenth century outside the town walls in the Socastelo neighbourhood, which contained an important mediaeval Jewish quarter.
Campo da Barreira: a wide open space surrounded to the north by the town’s mediaeval walls; in the centre there is a beautiful Baroque fountain, designed by Ferro Caaveiro, and on one side is the Royal Convent of Santa. Clara. This nunnery was founded in 1268 by Doña Violante, the wife of King Alfonso X ‘The Wise’. The current building dates from the eighteenth century and contains an important museum of religious art, including a triptych of the Virgin Mary carved in ivory. It has the largest cloister in all of Spain. In this area, which is also used for the town’s fortnightly fair, visitors may admire the Church of San Bieito, built in the eighteenth century with a fine slender tower and belfry.
Bridge and Church of Santa María de Vilanova: both built in the twelfth century, a beautiful group of Romanesque constructions reached at the end of the Paseo do Arnado promenade.
Penedo da Vela and castle: once the location of now-vanished castle overlooking the town, a perfect lookout point over the town and the banks of the river. It also offers an excellent panoramic view over the church of Santiago, one of the finest examples of Galician popular Romanesque style in the main square or Praza Maior and its surroundings, including the palace of the Courts of Law in Portelo Street (which today contains the Toy Museum, with pieces dating from the early twentieth century up to the 1960’s), and the Tower House of Castro Oxea (with a sixteenth century tower and manor house or pazo dating from the eighteenth century). Further south is the Church of San Pedro (a Romanesque structure from the late twelfth century) and to the east the Church of Santo Estevo (built in the twelfth century with reforms from the sixteenth), which includes three mediaeval tombs.
Other festivals you should not miss:
Festa do Boi (Ox Festival): held during Corpus Christi (usually in June, although without a fixed date as it falls sixty days after Easter). An ox is released in the town, tied with a rope and controlled by several men with a guillada (staff), in memory of the legendary attack made by Xoán de Arzúa, mounted on a bull, against Jews who were teasing the Christians during the Corpus procession. Declared an event of tourist interest.
Pastry, almond cake and melindre (fritter) Fair: celebrating the traditional pastries of Allariz during the first fortnight in September.
A unique town
Visitors to Allariz should not miss the recuperated banks of the River Arnoia, which include the leafy walkway alongside the river, an excellent ethnographic park that brings back to life a series of arts and traditions from the world of crafts and agriculture. It comprises three main sections: the Muíño do Burato mill, the ‘O Fiadeiro’ Fabric Museum and the Leather Museum, located in the former tannery of the Nogueira family, which includes a cafeteria and restaurant. A wooden footbridge connects both banks of the river and provides easy access to all of these different locations. The restoration project for the riverbank and its heritage led to the town receiving the European Town Planning Award in 1994.
If you want to watch what Allaris is like, here you have a video of its streets, enjoy it. http://rubixephoto.com/2015/08/21/video-fotografia-de-calle-en-ourense-agosto-2015/
Buen Camino, amigos!
Fotos: © Jota Barros / rubixephoto.com