Tui, on the border with Portugal, is the most popular starting point of the Portuguese Way.
There are some towns along the Camino de Santiago that will make you want to stop, and discover them. Tui is one of those places, not only because it is one of the main stops of the Portuguese Way, but also because of all its history, art and traditions.
Pilgrims are always amazed to discover all the cultural legacy of such a small town: we can visit settlements from the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Mesolithic periods; we’ll be able to walk through old Romand roads; to go back in timeÂ to the Arabic invasion and evoke the cultural cross-over that enhanced the Portuguese Way.
The name of this town, crossed by the Miño River, comes from the Greek, when Diomedes de
cided to give the territory the name of his father: Tydeo (nowadays, Tui).
The origin of this Galician town is linked to its geostrategic significance, that is why different empires tried to conquer it: on the II century, the Romans conquered the territory. This fact lead to a cultural exchange, that was interrupted by the crisis of the Empire. The Romans lost the territory, and the suevi took it, until the relentless Visigoth arrived. On the VIII century the Arabs invaded the territory, that was reconquered by King Alfonso I a couple of years after.
Which places should we visit in Tui?
- Catedral de Santa Maria de Tui: this impressive building draws the attention of all visitors. It is the first gothic construction of the whole Iberian Peninsula, and there are different historical jewels inside. Its medieval cloister is the only one we can visit in Galicia.
- Castro del Monte dos Cubos: this fortified construction (castro means fort in, Galician) is located on the top of the hill, and the views from there are impressive. Very close to it, we can visit the area known as “Veiga do Louro”, where we can see a Roman bridge, and a river beach where pilgrims can take a quick swim before continuing the walk.
- Camino de los Molinos (walk of the mills): this walk is located on the Natural Park of the Monte Aloia (Parque Natural del Monte Aloia) and it is highly recommended because of its views: restored mills, bridges, and other hidden corners surrounded by the natural landscape.
- The old quarter of Tui: it is quite small, but with many small stone-made streets, that fascinate all visitors.
- The International Bridge of Tui: this bridge over the Miño river marks the border between Portugal and Spain. It is said to be built by Gustave Eiffel, however, even though we can see his influence on the architecture, it was actually designed by the engineer Pelayo Mancebo y Agreda.
The Portuguese Way is one of those journeys that are not so easy to forget, because of all the emotions we can experience: camaraderie, solidarity, self-improvement, perseverance… We can also add the cultural side to this adventure thanks to towns like Tui. Stunning landscapes, art, gastronomy… is there anything else we can ask for?
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