Visit Galicia Visit Ourense

By: Scott James

With regards to the tourist industry within Spain, Northern Spain and in particular Galicia especially have been very much a hidden treasure and hidden within lies a further particular treasure called Ourense. Of all of the autonomous regions of Spain Galicia is considered the most remote and therein lies the charm of Ourense hidden away longing to be discovered.

Galicia has always been seen as a poor rural region, whose economy was dependent upon agriculture and fishing and did not lend itself to modernisation and yet as far as tourism is concerned it is this constant contact with the past that gives the region its appeal and charm.

The Galicians are fiercely proud of their culture and language and their Celtic heritage; it is what makes them unique (they feel) within modern day Spain.

Galicia always seemed to be a very closed and inward looking area being fiercely resistant to any formal external invasion and in many ways this degree of isolation was very much driven by the geographical location of the region.

In what has been a mountain to climb slowly but surely Galicia is now trying to manage successfully the twin track of its regional lifestyle with a much more modern society and thankfully this appears to have had very positive results with regards to tourism with little sign of negative effects..

The less well known town of Ourense is the provincial capital of Galicia's innermost province and can be known in this over the region on the main road leading eastward into the country from the port of Vigo.

According to popular tradition than name Ourense is derived from the Hot springs that can be found there and much loved by the Romans who called the town Aquae Urentes (warm waters).

The town retained its importance both politically and geographically down through the centuries in various guises leading to the fact that it is one of the four provincial capitals that make up the modern day region known as Galicia.

Again likely to one of the most striking visitor attractions within Ourense ease the cathedral. The building work on the Cathedral de San Martino was started in the 12th century and as a result most of its features are very traditional in a style that has been described as late Roman and Early Gothic. The interior of the cathedral is quite big and long and has been described as quite gloomy by a great many visitors.

Ourense is one of those towns that very much still follow the original roman architecture and design with regards to town planning and layout.

Other parts of Ourense that are worth taking note are the Praza de Magdalena which is just off the main square and is characterised by beautiful overhanging buildings and flowers. This square is dominated by yet another church as well as the cathedral and this time the church is the Iglesia de Santa Maria Madre which is an attractive church of Baroque design that is built on the site of an earlier 11th Century original.

South of the old town you will find the original hot springs which first attracted the Romans to settle the area. They still pump out water at a healthy 65 degrees so don't keep your hands under the water for too long!

All in all Ourense is definitely well worth a visit.

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