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This route proposes a tour of three traditional Galician church buildings located in the municipality of Porto do Son: Church of Santa Mariña de Xuño, Church of Santa María de Caamaño, Church of San Pedro de Baroña.

The purpose of this route is for the person to discover the identity of the Galician people, its idiosyncrasy built over the centuries, and to discover the magic that is hidden in the natural landscapes intervened by the action of Galician men and women over the centuries. These constructions within the landscape whisper to those who contemplate them the way of being of a people, their way of seeing the world, of living and coexisting. The churchyards are unique because they group together a set of buildings (church, atrium with tombs surrounding it, cemetery, fountain, cross, dovecote, rectory, granary, land cultivated by the priest…). These landscapes are very original because it interacts the set of buildings of the churchyard with the surrounding landscape, nearby landscape (trees, farmland and mountains) and distant (the sea in the background). This combination of landscape and churchyard exemplifies the ark of the true Galician soul.

The term churchyard (Iglesiario) is not well defined in dictionaries. Literally, it is the place or plot of land that belongs to the parish church and that, by extension, is attributed to the management and enjoyment of the parish priest. But the Churchyard is much more than that definition. The term has special peculiarities in Galicia, and therefore we can define it as the sounding board of the history of the inhabitants of Barbanza, its meeting point, of coexistence, of birth and death, of deals, of deliveries, of experience of the moments of the life of each person and of the parish community (in Galicia the Parish is the administrative denomination that has constituted and constitutes the communities of the towns or town councils, far above the municipal term or any other administrative division).

Therefore, the Churchyard are the heart of the parish as a living and participatory community. It is the land on which the church settle and the land surrounding the church itself. A space is constituted as a meeting place throughout the centuries and generations. In this space one is born and dies, enjoys pilgrimages, family events, makes deals, works together. It is the place that preserves all the marks of artistic genius through religious and civil art: the parish church, the raised granary, the cruceiros (cross), the cemeteries, the dovecotes and the impressive rectory houses and their typical “holy water” fountains. All this in the various stages of a people through art: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and especially the great explosion of the Galician Baroque. The Romanesque, especially, is of great value because of its antiquity and because it is little known.

But we must not forget the scenic surroundings setting: the visitor will be enchanted by the magic of the encounter between the monument and the natural environment in which it is located: Mountain in the vicinity and sea in the distance: the Churches are embedded in small valleys, often crossed by a river, surrounded by trees, flowers and magnetized by the sound of the bell or raindrops, or diffused light and color by the mist that descends from the mountains and introduces the mystery in the one who contemplates what surrounds him.

To contemplate the Churchyard (Iglesiario) is to discover the deep Galicia, the echoes of history and tradition. It is to vibrate with the landscape, with space and time, with the sounds, with the sea and the forest. And it is also to enter into a dimension of time and its different layers of intrahistory.

This is Valle-Inclán’s literary portrait of a churchyard in the middle of the night. Undoubtedly Valle-Inclán, a privileged inhabitant of Pobra do Caramiñal, was inspired by the churchyards buildings in this area, to recreate them in his work Flor de Santidad (Flower of Sanctity):

From afar, the belfry of the church could be seen dominating the dark tops of the old walnut trees: it stood out against the moonlit sky, and the blue of the starry night could be perceived through the two arches that supported the bells, those village bells, pious, early risers, simple. [88] like two centenarian old women. The atrium was green and fragrant, all covered with graves. Behind the church was the fountain shaded by a walnut tree that perhaps counted the age of the bells, and under the white moonlight, the dark top of the tree stretched patriarchally and clemently over the green waters that seemed to murmur a witches’ tale. Valle-Inclán, Flor de Santidad,Second Stay, Chapter V.

But in addition, the Churchyard (Iglesiario) is the evolved sample, through the passage of time, of what were the ancient prehistoric Mámoas erected on the tops of our mountains as sacred temples or cathedrals that concentrated around themselves the villages that formed a community of life and death through their magical rites. These prehistoric vestiges had the West as a reference point (where the sun dies, the true vital astrolabe) through the sea and the mountains as a living space. When these primitive peoples began to descend from the mountain tops and to settle on the banks of the estuaries in the late Middle Ages, they gave birth to the Churchyards, and in these they transferred the old prehistoric customs to the new models of European Christianity, preserving in the end their essence and their constitutive principles of the communities of life and death.

Porto do Son offers in almost all its parishes a living sample of these churchyards of enormous value. We have chosen for this route the three mentioned in the title because together they form an exceptional whole worthy of being contemplated and experienced.

Virtual tour, Knowledge and Audiovisual Training.

Pincheiro has a wide range of audiovisual materials produced by our audiovisual and digital team. These audiovisuals filmed from a bird’s eye view go into the knowledge of this route and the true meaning of these churchyards as a sample of the psychology of the Galician people: History of the temples of Xuño, Caamaño and Baroña, environment of the churchyards, architectural elements of the landscape (granaries, rectories, cruceiros, fountains, dovecotes, bells, cemeteries, apses, canzorros or corbels. ..), landscape elements (sea and mountain), tradition, group celebration. The virtual classroom, located in Pincheiro AT’s premises, offers you a place to study so that you can get to know these enchanted places in greater detail.

On-site tour and experience with tour guide on the side.

The objective of the on-site tour is to experience the place and personally immerse oneself in its charm through three churchyards and their natural surroundings. The idea is to enjoy the elements offered by these sites and to be able to locate the idiosyncrasy of the Galician people through the traces of the enchanted places of the region.

Itinerary. This route begins in the church of the parish of Santa Mariña de Xuño. Its temple of Romanesque origin (12th century) was transformed in later centuries into a Latin cross plan. It preserves a beautiful 12th century rectangular presbytery with a barrel vault, an artistic imprint of the Romanesque style. The main facade is beautiful for its originality in two heights, and for its slender belfry with its bells. Behind the church in the background are the dovecote and the raised granary of the Churchyard, as well as the chapel cross; and all this submerged in the space and aurea of the cemetery surrounding the church. The façade of the church faces the sea, while the head of the church faces the mountain. The corbels around the church, without outstanding ornamentation. The two chapels in the Latin cross plan with the imprint of the Baroque in its altarpieces.

We continue the tour through the Church of Santa María de Caamaño with its facade facing the sea and the sound of the fountain to the right of the church. The whole temple is surrounded by a cemetery where you can only hear nature with the wind that moves the leaves, the singing of the birds, the whisper of the running water. In front there is a dovecote inside the church and the rectory. In the chancel there is a beautiful Romanesque window. In the interior of the main chapel, four columns support the entrance to the Romanesque part of the temple, which has been adorned with an altarpiece of great artistic value.

Finally, we visit the church of San Pedro de Baroña with the sea and the mountain bordering its space. The corbels support its roof, and at the foot of the facade is a beautiful old rectory with its church, with a large entrance door, with granary and dovecote. The cemetery next door as well as the cross (cruceiro). From San Pedro de Baroña there is an impressive view to the west. On the roofs of the church, between the main chapel and the central nave, there is a very beautiful small rose window.