Top Historic Sights in Pontevedra, Spain

Explore the historic highlights of Pontevedra

Pontevedra Museum

The museum"s collections are distributed over five different venues: Santo Domingo Convent, Sarmiento Palace, the Castro Monteagudo building, and the García Flórez and Fernández López buildings. At the 18th-century Castro Monteagudo building you can see collections of archaeology, traditional and civil pre-Roman and Roman precious metalwork (Fernández de la Mora collection), as well as Spanish, Italian and Flem ...
Founded: 1929 | Location: Pontevedra, Spain

La Peregrina Chapel

The Capela da Virxe Peregrina is a highly unusual building situated in the Praza de Peregrina (square of the pilgrim) in Pontevedra city centre. This chapel is unique and distinctive and attracts the attention of everyone who sees it. It was built in 1778 and is positioned on the main pilgrim"s route that leads to Santiago de Compostela from Portugal. The chapel is a fusion of Baroque detailing with some neo classi ...
Founded: 1778 | Location: Pontevedra, Spain

San Domingos Convent Ruins

San Domingos Convent was founded around 1282, although the work on the conserved temple did not begin until 1383, continuing through the 15th century. Following the introduction of the exclaustration law, the convent was closed in 1836. The building gradually deteriorated until it fell into ruin and by 1846 some of its materials were being used to pave streets. In 1864 a chapel was demolished and between 1869 and 1870 th ...
Founded: 1282 | Location: Pontevedra, Spain

Basílica de Santa María la Mayor

The basilica of Santa Maria la Mayor is one of the jewels in the crown of Galician Gothic architecture. It was built in the 16th century, by order of the Guild of fishermen. It was granted the status of small basilica in 1962, by Pope John XXIII.  The west façade that was designed by Cornelius de Holanda, has been built in the style of an altarpiece, with three ornately decorated sections. There is a massive transept i ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Pontevedra, Spain

San Salvador de Lérez Monastery

The Monastery of San Salvador or San Benito de Lérez was founded in the 10th century by Benedictine monks. The present church is Neo-Classical with an 18th-century Baroque façade, where the image of St. Benedict can be seen in a niche. Adjoining the southern wall, one wing of the 16th-century cloister is still standing. Some of the blocks in this wall show tomb engravings and Roman inscriptions, dating from the original ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Pontevedra, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.