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BY MARIA GARRIDO - 2 MINUTE READ
A History lesson in the spirit of resilience!
WARRIORS AT OUR SHORES
In 844, the Vikings arrived on the shores of Spain and proceeded to plunder the villages along the seaside. These Nordic warriors, known for their seafaring prowess and fearsome reputation, were on a relentless quest for riches and adventure and they set their sights on the uncharted territories of the Galician coastline.
The seaside village of Catoira, where Terranam Wellness Manor was built nearly 1000 years later, became a witness to the thunderous clash of cultures.. Its location at the inner tip of the Arousa ocean bay and at the cusp of the banks of the Ulla River made it a strategic target. Conquering this fishermen's town would open access up the river to Santiago de Compostela and to the treasures and riches this cathedral city posessed.
SCRAPPY TOWERING DEFENDERS
When the Norse seafarers- "heathen worshippers of many gods" as they were referred to at the time- arrived on the shores of Catoira, they surprised the sleepy seaside village with a violent attack.
BUT Catoira was not to be conquered without a fight!
In a stroke of ingenuity, the inhabitants erected a formidable defensive system to safeguard their town from the impending Viking onslaught. The Towers of Catoira, now iconic symbols of the region, served as a stern deterrent against the Viking ships.
These towers not only embodied the Galician spirit of resistance but also marked a turning point in the Viking ambitions as they faced a staunch and determined resistance from the local defenders.
More than 1200 years after this violent chapter in Spain's history, and in good Galician style, it's a good excuse for a wild party!
Every year, on the first Sunday of August, the town becomes a time capsule, transporting visitors back to the age of Viking invasions. The entire attack is reenacted complete with replicas of the Viking ships, modeled after remains found in the waters of Galicia. People dress as viking invaders and village defenders and engage in fierce battles. There are barrels of wine served individually in clay bowls, giant steamed mussels, local country bread and a fanfare of other regional delicacies. And of course, there is music and spectacle to delight every history buff and party animal around.
Today, the Viking invasion of Catoira stands as a testament to the enduring power of human determination. This small town's epic resistance against the seafaring marauders has etched its name in history, reminding us of the valor that can be found in the unlikeliest of places.
If you're lucky enough to join one of our 7 day retreats, you might get a special treat! Some of our guests have enjoyed a leisurely river tour on the very Viking boats that sit on the Catoira shore.