Monterreal Fortress is located on the Monte Boi peninsula, also know as Monterreal. This site has been known over the past 2000 years as the walled precinct. Pre-Christian civilisations such as the Celts, the Phoenicians and the Romans lived here in the past. During the present time, the place was occupied by many different people and it suffered a number of attacks and modifications. The village of Baiona was site here due to a royal privilege issued by The Catholic Kings, as a defence against the corsair incursions.
The peninsula covers an area of 18 hectares and sis surrounded by 3 Km of crenellated battlement walls dating back from the 11th to the 17th centuries. This place changed ownership over the years until 1963, when it was acquired by the Ministry of Information & Tourism to convert it into a Parador Hotel named Conde de Gondomar.
The fort has three important towers: the Tower of the Clock is found near the entrance. Inside this tower there was a hidden warning bell which served as an alarm in case of enemy attacks. The Tower of the Tenaille rises to the East: its duty was to defend the port with artillery. In the West the Tower of the Prince stands over the bay. This is probably the oldest tower and it used to serve as lighthouse for vessels. It shows three coats of arms (the Austrias's, the Sotomaior's and the one of Baiona). The tower was named after the Portuguese prince Afonso Enriques, imprisoned inside the tower in 1137.
The Fortress can be visited all through the year. Amazing sunsets over the ria and the Cíes islands can be admired from the walls. Not to miss the coastline along which Baiona stretches.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.