Allariz

Home of "The Wise" and the "Werewolf"

This was a strategic place of defense in Galicia. This beautiful, historical art complex was the residence of King Alfonso X and a famous criminal.

Planning your trip to Allariz

There is a lot to see in Allariz, an unusual and unfrequented getaway destination. A visit to its monumental and well-preserved urban center — with several interesting museums — can take a whole day. For the next day – if you are a nature lover – you can take the car and drive east, and visit the original ‘ecospace’ of Rexo.  If you end the visit early, you can go down the highway to Verín and from there go up the OU 114 to the beautiful Natural Park do Invernadeiro; We advise to call before, because the access is restricted to 30 people a day. Another option for the rest of the getaway is to go north up the highway to the city of Orense. You can visit our links for places to stay and things to eat in Allariz so you can make your reservations.

Do you want to know more about this place?

Reality and magic come together in this town full of legends such as The ‘Werewolf’ of Allariz, inspired by the life of Manuel Blanco Romasanta, a criminal psychopath who was sick with lycanthropy. His story was taken to the big screen in the film Romasanta, The Hunting of the Beast, by the director Paco Plaza.

Allariz has Celtic origins, and the town began in a fort that was located on the Arnoia Rover. However, its name dates back to the 6th century, when the warlord Suevo Alaric gave it his own name (in Latin, Vila Alaricii).

Its strategic position as an easy-to-defend communications location led King Alfonso VI to order its fortification in the 11th century. In order to control the influx of inhabitants,  the Crown granted him a jurisdiction the following century that made it a real Real Villa. Among the new settlers were many Jews, who formed a Jewish quarter outside the walls. King Sancho IV called Allariz “the key to the Kingdom of Galicia”, a name that still rings true today. The tranquility that this town offered through its stronghold motivated the education of the future king Alfonso X ‘The Wise.’ There he learned Galician-Portuguese as a child, which he would eventually use in some of his famous Cantigas (poems with musical notation).

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Casco Histórico de Allariz

Between the 16th and 17th centuries, the four stone crosses of the village were erected at a time when the town was affected by numerous epidemics and the bubonic plague. The citizens sought protection from the gods with the crosses. You can still visit these crosses today. The convent of the Clarisas was also rebuilt, which was burnt down in a fire.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there was the dismantling of the castle and the disappearance of most of the walled sections, whose blocks of stone were used for smaller construction projects.

Strolling along the pavement and the streets with no worries in Allariz is a pleasure, one reason being that its historic center is preserved in good condition thanks to the restoration and rehabilitation effort in previous years, which made it worthy of the European Urbanism Award in 1994. In its medieval layout, linked to the Camino de Santiago and surrounded by chestnut forests, we find important religious constructions. In the upper part of the villa is the Campo da Barreira, a large esplanade that houses a market on the 1st and 15th of each month, as well as a circular fountain with a fasciculate tree in the center, the work of Ferro-Caaveiro (1783). The square defines the Baroque Sanctuary of San Benito and the Monastery of Santa Clara, founded in 1268 by the ‘Violate Queen,’, wife of Alfonso X. While it was rebuilt in the eighteenth century, it has the largest baroque cloister in Spain. Nuns reside here, so it is not possible to access more than entrance to the church and to the museum, which contains two pieces that attract the most interest: The Virxe Abrideira of Ivory, and a cross of glass and enamels.

The Town Hall and the Church of Santiago are in the heart of the Old Town, Plaza de la Villa o Mayor with its two-pipe fountain. Started around the year 1119, it is a archetypal specimen of popular Galician Romanesque, with a unique nave and semicircular apse, which has the peculiarity of preserving its primitive structure in its entirety.  Other monuments of the surroundings are the Temple de Santa María de Vilanova, from the end of the 12th century. Its beginnings were related to the order of Malta, born in the time of the Crusades; The Church of San Pedro (XII-XVIII), from whose original Romanesque temple only the main chapel is preserved; And the Romanesque of the 12th century of St. Stephen, which was modified in 1581, when its tower was built.

A little further, 5 km from the center, the Romanesque Basilica of Santa Marina de Aguasantas o Augas Santas (12th-13th century) is worth visiting, declared a Historical-Artistic Complex in 1963. Santa Marina constitutes an attractive historical and artistic landscape in which history, tradition and legend are mixed together. The creation of this place is linked to the existence and martyrdom of the Marine, which resists the desires of the perfect Olybrius and ends up dying decapitated. The temple, built in the place where he was buried, consists of three naves and headboard of triple apse and its interior is illuminated through three rosettes located above the headboard. Interestingly, we find the “Horno de la Santa”, where it tells the tradition that this was martyred.

In addition, Allariz has a large number of interesting museums for visitors: The Iconographic Museum, which was born through the donation of Doctor Aser Seara (the museum is also home to a foundation that bears its name) and stands out for its popular art pieces: el Museo del TejidoO Fiadeiro“, which is part of the ethnographic park of the village and has a single room in which we can observe the process of making linen and wool garments. In addition to buying high quality handcrafted garments; The first Galician Museum of Toys, which emerged from the donation of a neighbor of the village, has more than 700 original pieces from 1900 to 1970; or the latest addition to the list, the Vicente Risco House-Museum, which displays an important bibliographical documentary background of the Galician politics and intellectuals, as well as the recreation of its work cabinet.

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Puente Románico de Allariz

In Requeixo de Valverde, 3.5 km east of Allariz, is the Ecospace of Rexo, an area designed by the Basque artist Agustín Ibarrola, which is based on the harmonization of natural elements contained in the landscape itself (such as trees, stones, earth and water) with others that are reused and present in the Galician culture (granite and slab). In addition to painting several strains of trees, Ibarrola placed a series of painted stones parallel to the riverbed of a water channel where an mini electric contraception produces energy, thus showing the path of the sun and the moon in the sky and its alignment. In the same environment there is also a farm-school, an environmental education center and a pilot operation that produces the sheep-cured cheese of O Rexo, one of the most characteristic and tasty cheeses in the area.

The Essentials

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Casco histórico
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Iglesia de San Esteban

Important Information

Coordinates

42° 11’ 0’’ N, 7° 48’ 0’’ W

Distances

112 km from Vigo, 115 km from Lugo, 123 km from Santiago de Compostela, and 482 km from Madrid

Parking

You can park with no problem in and around the villa

Altitude

571 m

Inhabitants

6,056 (2013)

Patronales de San Benito (July 11th), Romería de Santa Mariña de Augas Santas (August 18th)

Celebration of the Empanada (third Sunday of August), Festa do Boi (during the Corpus week in June), Fair of almond sweets (first weekend of September)

Association of Artisans of Allariz

Other Nearby Destinations

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