Anybody visiting Galicia, would think that they had arrived in a country that was Spanish, but clearly not fully Spanish. It is true that much of the population have the traditional Spanish look of dark hair and brown eyes. However, a good amount are blond with blue or green eyes. A visit to a traditional Galician fiesta, will not bring out any guitars, maracas or emotional flamenco dancing. Bagpipes, tambourines and soft soled shoes are the order of the day. So why is this? What sets Galicia apart from the rest of the peninsula. Most say it is the Celtic roots of the region.
Early Celtic Inhabitants
There have always been arguments regarding which came first, the chicken or the egg. Thus, Galicia has had a similar problem with it´s culture and language. Most Hispanics looked more northern European than southern before the Moorish invasion in the 8th century. The Moors, with their distinctive Arab look, over generations literally changed the face of the Hispanic nation. With the Moors never conquering Galicia, this could explain why this northern European look has survived in the region. However, many believe it goes deeper than that. There are many links to the Celtic culture in Galicia.
Celtic Settlement on Monte Santa Trega
The Celtic culture has its origins in pre-roman times, and several ruins exist from that era in Galicia. Celtic settlements existed in Galicia as these ruins clearly illustrate. One of these is situated close to our Tui base on the most south western point of Galicia, in Monte Santa Trega, . A very sacred mountain that rise nearly 300m above the coast. The Castro, as it is known, was discovered just 100 years ago. The Celtic type settlement has been been painstakingly restored ever since unveiling a huge settlement. Because of this, it is crystal clear that Celts were here in pre-Roman times.
You will have the pleasure of riding up Santa Trega during your trip. On the descent we will stop for what is a glorious photo opportunity. It is well documented that the Celts throughout Europe occupied lands with hill forts. Galicia has many examples of these, not all as well preserved as the Castro de Santa Tecla.