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 classical design elements. What makes the structure unique and eye catching is not however its intricate detailing (although there is plenty of that), but its shape and form in plan. The chapel has a ground plan in the shape of the viera (scallop shell), the traditional and long lasting symbol of pilgrims and the pilgrim's route to Santiago de Compostela.
From the outside the chapel looks 'stocky' but it is also strangely narrow and appears to be almost circular. It has a symmetrical appearance with several small windows climbing vertically up its facade and two small towers at it head. The portico is elaborate and has an equally decorative drinking fountain in front of it with a stair either side that takes visitors up to the entrance level, about four feet above the main square.
Inside the Pilgrims chapel there is a neo classical alter that dates from 1789. Its main feature is an image of Pontevedra's patron saint, the virgin pilgrim. The inside of the chapel is extremely small and none but pilgrims entered it when we were there.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.