Pontevedra, constructed with the patience of centuries, preserves one of the most important and elegant old towns in Galicia, it was declared Historical in 1951. The old town consists of a walled core of paved streets and quiet plazuelas with guild names, some of them arcaded. It is fill completely with educated and popular architecture buildings, nowadays it is almost for pedestrian use only. In its center, in España Square, you can find the Town hall, an eclectic building from the 19th century.
You can do a monumental tour starting at the Alameda, opposite to the Town hall, one of its most famous parks, this park is in the old garden from the Santo Domingo convent. You can find diverse official organisms and commemorative monuments on its surroundings, as the Héroes de Ponte Sampaio monument, which remembers the victory obtained against the Napoleonic troops in 1808. You can also see the Gothic Santo Domingo Convent ruins, it was founded in 1281, and only part of the church head-board remains, here there are some archaeological pieces because it is one of the headquarters of the Provincial Museum, and there is also part of the neoclassic work, realized according to Álvarez Reguera’s traces.
In Alonso de Fonseca Square you can find the Santa María la Mayor Church (15th century), it was declared minor basilica by Juan XXIII. It is one of the Galician art jewels, in which the Elizabethan Gothic is mixed with lusos styles and some trends of the Hispanic renaissance. It has three naves, ribbed vaults and lateral attached chapels. The most outstanding of the building is the main façade, work in granite made by Cornelis de Holanda and Juan Nobre, it includes an interesting plateresque facade. In addition, on the left of the south door of the temple you can find the Cristo del Buen Viaje (Christ of the Good Journey) sculpture, to whom devotees go in order to have his protection in their next journeys.
Another place to see in the old town in Pontevedra is the Peregrina Sanctuary (18th century), this is a symbol for the city. The temple, work of the architects Antonio Souto and Bernardo Jose de Mier, possesses a plant in shell of pilgrims’ shape. A fountain leads, through a staircase, to a porch and to its convex façade of divided pediment between two twin towers, which mixes the baroque style with the neoclassicist style and it is presided by the Virgen de la Peregrina (Pilgrim Virgin) image (19th century), patron saint of the city and province of Pontevedra. In the small interior space stands out the major neoclassic altarpiece, realized in 1789 by Melchor de Prado.
Opposite this temple there is the well-known Ferrería Square which has turned into one of the most typical places in the city. The San Francisco Church (14th-15th centuries), is in a lateral of the square, it has a simple façade with tower and rosette, which spills the light into the inside of the long nave; the plant of the building has transept and triple head-board of polygonal apses. On the inside, it is important the sepulcher of the admiral and poet Payo Gómez Chamiro, from the 13th century. So close to it, in Castro Sampedro’s gardens that separate the monument from the square, you can find the Ferrería Fountain with Renaissance style.
There are a lot of squares in Pontevedra, but you should visit the Cinco Rúas Square too. There you can see the 19th century house where the writer Ramón María del Valle-Inclán lived while he was studying the baccalaureate and he published his first book, the collection of romantic stories Femeninas (1894). In this epoch was when the writer began to take his characteristic apparel: cap, hat and his long goat beard. The house cannot be visited because is private property.
In the Sor Lucía street is the Apariciones Sanctuary, it has no architectural interest but more than 12 million visitors go there because Sor Lucía, one of the clairvoyants girls of Fátima, had a vision on December 10, 1925. So close to it, in the parallel street, there is the Pazo del barón de la Casa Goda, with gardens and neoclassic façade, currently it is Inn of Tourism.