(Click on pictures to see them at bigger size)
We recently told you about the Iglesia Parroquial de San Martiño de Poutomillos in the stage from Lugo to our albergue. Today we are bringing you another hidden gem of the Primitive Way which is geographically quite near the previous one, but is much more interesting and important.
The Archaeological Site of Boveda was declared a National Historic and Artistic Monument in 1931 (just five years after it was discovered) and a Building of Cultural Interest in 1985. Actually, 1926 was only the year on which the finding was published, the real time of its discovery being 1914, when the priest of the Church of Santa Eulalia de Boveda de Mera, Mr. Jose Maria Penado, dig a hole and found a small opening that communicated with a narrow space, where he found a dome’s start. The 100th anniversary of its discovery has just been celebrated.
The monument was surrounded by mistery from the first moment in regard to its origin, use, signification and chronology. The most accepted theory since the 1950s is that it would have been created as a temple devoted to some pagan divinity, and later christianized.
Originally the monument was not half-buried as it is now, but at ground level, and was made by two floors, from which only the lower one exists today; the Church of Santa Eulalia de Boveda is now in the place of the upper floor.
A small gantry in the front of the building gives access to the entrance door, with a semi-circular arch (tending to horseshow arch), and surrounded at both sides by two rectangular windows with a triangular gap on them. The inside of the monument is a regular space, originally single but later on divided in three bodies separated by columns and arches, of which today only the lateral starts remain. At the end, a small apse with a great semi-circular arch can be found; inside this apse there is a space from which some stairs started toward the upper floor, probably built in late modifications of the building and then later on demolished.
In the center of the monument there is a shallow, rectangular pool, around which many theories about the monument have been constructed. At some point in history this pool was buried, for which it was not discovered until the 1950s. Although the sculptoric decoration of the monument is certainly interesting, the most important decorations of Santa Eulalia de Boveda are its wall paintings, unique in the history of Roman Spain. It is paint on plaster in different colours, representing different birds, mainly partridges, pheasants, doves and roosters, some times under trees and eating grapes. These pictoric motifs are considered characteristic of late Roman art, and can be considered to inspire Asturian prerromanic wall paint.
It is thought that the place had two moments of different use: a pagan one in the late Roman time (centuries III and IV) and a christian one, already on the XIth century, as a crypt of the upper church.
HOW TO GET TO SANTA EULALIA DE BOVEDA IF YOU ARE WALKING THE PRIMITIVE WAY:
If you want to visit Santa Eulalia de Boveda in your stage of the Primitve Way between Lugo and Ponte Ferreira you must take the detour to the right clearly signed slightly before reaching 12km from Lugo; this detour point is just next to San Martiño de Poutomillos church, so if we turn our head left at the very detour point, we will see this church left of the Camino, just a couple hundred meters away from us.
To get back to the Primitive Way after visiting Santa Eulalia de Boveda we can take the same road if we do not want to miss a single metre of our Way. But if that is not the case and we prefer to save time and distance, we can ask the guide that has shown us the monument, who will recommend us to take certain small roads and local pathways that will take us through the small towns of Vilanova and Vigo back to our trail. By doing so we will have skipped about 3km of the Primitive Way, which we will get back to just passed Bacurin and right before reaching O Hospital.
Important information: Santa Eulalia de Boveda is closed on Sundays, Mondays and holidays. Be careful with this, as you would not be the first pilgrim to detour all the way there and not be able to visit it! If you have any doubts, or for questions about group visits or visits out of regular times and days, you can call the information number +(34)982160124.
If you plan to visit Santa Eulalia de Boveda in your Primitive Way, especially on Summer, do not hesitate to call us to reserve your place in Ponte Ferreira, as the detour and visit will make you reach our albergue a little later than the rest of pilgrims. You can do so by calling us on +(34)982036949 or +(34)616161594; also by email (at least three or four days in advance, please!) on email@example.com.