Get excited about culture
The cultural heritage of the municipality of Forcarei is linked to a millenary history where the “dolmens”, “mámoas”, “castros” and remains of the Romanisation are evidence of the occupation of these lands.
The presence of the Suevo kingdom has also been proven, as shown by some of the place names in the surrounding area, including the name Forcarei. During the reign of the Suevo Miro, in the year 569, there are documents that confirm that Forcarei was part of the territory belonging to the seat of Iria Flavia. During that period, the inhabitants of the lands of Forcarei were part of the group of the Metacians, and were home to the oldest settlers in the area.
In the year 874 the territory of Forcarei became enfeoffed by donation of Alfonso III to the See of Irene, but the total ascription to this see was not completed until the donations of Queen Urraca to Archbishop Xelmirez between 1110 and 1115. In the year 1135 it was founded the Mosteiro de Aciveiro by the Benedictine monks who had previously settled in the Serra do Candán and who would provoke a very relevant socio-economic and cultural development of which the following remains as testimony of the Neveiras de Fixó, the 17th-century museum, where visitors can discover the most powerful ice industry in Galicia and enjoy the viewpoints of this mountainous area of great environmental value.
The Mosteiro de Aciveiro is one of the unique examples of Romanesque architecture in the province of Pontevedra and its location in the heart of the Sierra del Candán makes it a must-see in Forcarei and the Terra de Montes.
And to get to know our history you should also visit the Alarma de Barciela tower (BIC) which is a 15th century construction located in the church of Santa Marina de Castrelo (16th century) and consists of three sections, the first rectangular with a niche, the second with a platform used to light a fire as a light signal and house bells as an acoustic signal and the third a small frontispiece that formerly housed a pinnacle. From the tower, the neighbourhood of the area was summoned to worship and to the general meetings of the mountains, as well as to sound the alarm if the incursion of bands of assailants was detected, especially during the Carlist wars.
To delve into popular culture and ethnography, the municipality is home to albarizas (Pereira, Graña de Trasdomonte and Aciveiro) and unique bridges such as Ponte Gomail on the Camiño dos Arrieiros, Ponte de Andón (Aciveiro) or Ponte da Bouzada (Vilapouca) where the craftsmanship and good work of the stonemasons of Terra de Montes is shown in these constructions created for traditional trades such as the arrieiros and pottery.
IMMATERIAL HERITAGE of Forcarei
The intangible heritage is that which is transmitted from generation to generation and forms part of the identity of a people and in the case of Forcarei we have important figures who placed these lands and their ways of life in the world from a cultural point of view. The main exponent of Forcarei and Galicia is Avelino Cachafeiro, the Piper of Soutelo, a beacon of Galician traditional music and named the best Piper in Galicia, as Castelao wrote in his 1924 chronicle and caricature of this singular artist.
Since 2010 the Soutelo Piper’s Festival, which is held on the Saturday after the 16th of August (the feast of San Roque) is a festival of Galician tourist interest and brings together in the town of Soutelo de Montes the neighbourhood of the town council and followers of traditional music.
Our identity and way of life were portrayed by Virxilio Vieitez, one of the great Spanish photographers of the 20th century, who with his lens captured the rural world and the emigration of our region in the mid-20th century in an exceptional way.
On a walk through the Plaza de los Gaiteros in Soutelo de Montes and its surroundings we can discover these fascinating characters on the information panels installed there.
And in the journey through the people who have valued our culture and identity, it is worth mentioning the great filmmaker Chano Piñeiro, who is closely linked to the parish of Forcarei, which was his source of inspiration for the stories, characters and settings of his award-winning films (Mamasunción and Siempre Xonxa). In the town hall square you can visit the sculpture that pays homage to the artist as well as information about this singular figure of Galician cinema.
It is important to highlight the pilgrimage of Dolores, with a tradition of more than one hundred and fifty years (around the last Sunday of August), another important date in the agenda of the people of Forcareicense is the 8 September, the country pilgrimage next to the monastery of Aciveiro. Other pilgrimages are also celebrated in the municipality, such as San Martiño (11 November), San Antonio de Garellas (13 June) or San Juan de Meavía (on Easter Saturday).
There are also many gastronomic festivals in the municipality, where visitors can enjoy the local gastronomy.
“A Terra de Montes ten
de todo coma en botica
bos canteiros, bos gaiteiros
e bos cregos para dicir misa”
The land of muiños
Between the rivers Lérez, Umia, Avia, Verdugo and Grobas there are more than 500 mills in the land of Montes, although some of them are in ruinous conditions.
The density of these unique buildings allows the visitor to find three examples practically next to each other in Castrelo and Gaxín or to discover 18 mills in barely 2 km between Salgueiro and Sorribas.
The town council of Forcarei has undertaken some mill recovery projects. One example is the Hoyo Viejo mill, which was restored by the Terra de Montes School-Workshop.
On the senda das pontes do Lérez, along the 24 km of its route, the visitor can observe a large number of mills and contemplate the different states in which they are preserved.
The predominant form of ownership in Montes was that of the heirs’ mill, with approximately 60 %. The percentage of private individuals was around 35 %, and only 5 % was made up of mills owned by maquieiros.
TRAILS WITH HISTORY
If the visitor wishes to explore part of the history of the municipality while enjoying nature, he or she can follow trails such as the Sendeiro Vreeiro. A trade route that was created in the Middle Ages as an alternative to the busier routes and which required its passers-by to pay tolls and other commercial taxes.
The senda das Neveiras runs through the points of greatest scenic interest in the Fixó – Portela area. This enclave, dating from the 17th century, was exploited by the monks of the Mosteiro de Aciveiro for the ice trade, one of the most profitable activities in the area and the monks’ main source of income.
Corners of another time
There are numerous forcareicense spaces that left a mark for its importance in time, many of them can be visited today. As Neveiras de Fixó, which the town council has begun renovation work on, are unique enclosures dedicated to the production of ice in the Middle Ages.
The producers of this ice were the monks who lived in the Mosteiro de Aciveiro, now restored and declared a Historic and Artistic Monument in 1931. It is currently considered an Asset of Cultural Interest and is used as an inn.
In every corner of the municipality there are “mámoas”, “castros” and other archaeological sites. All of them are catalogued and listed in the Archaeological Charter of the province of Pontevedra. In the Castro de As Rodeiras, for example, an excavation was carried out in which important discoveries were made, such as unique pieces of pottery and the grinding wheel of a mill for grinding cereal.
terra de montes ethnographic centre
The Ethnographic Centre of Terra de Montes (CETMO), located in the Multipurpose Hall of Soutelo de Montes, is a place dedicated to the study, conservation and dissemination of the cultural and material heritage of the region.
The Centre’s task is to prevent the heritage of our ancestors from being forgotten and to show the daily life of the area until the 1960s, before the pre-industrial culture.
This museum has a collection of more than 1200 pieces (740 exhibited). The exhibits do not have an economic value in themselves, they are the witness of a way of life.