Galicia, an ancient Roman province and historical kingdom of the Iberian peninsula, is located in the north-western area of Spain, north of Portugal, on two sides is bathed by the waters of the Atlantic ocean, while to the east it borders on Asturias and Castile-Leon.
The region which has Santiago de Compostela as its capital and is divided into four provinces: La Coruña, Lugo, Orense and Pontevedra. The official languages are Galician and Spanish. The economy has always been based on fishing, while agriculture is rather poor.
The coast which stretches for over 1,500 km and is the main feature of Galicia. Often wild and very jagged in nature, it has numerous fjords called “rías” and is generally divided between “Rías Altas” and “Rías Baixas” based on their position relative to the Cape Finisterre. The “Rías Altas” are located north of the Cape Finisterre, while the larger “Rías Bajas” are located south of the Cape.
There are numerous islands along the Galician coast, the most important of which are included in the archipelagos of Cíes, Ons, Sálvora, Cortegada, Arosa, Sisargas and Malveiras. The interior of the Galician territory is sparsely populated. Because of its conformation, rivers and mountain ranges alternate. Among the rivers the Miño and the Sil are the most important. Mountain ranges rarely exceed two thousand meters. The highest mountain in the region is the Peña Trevinca (2,127 meters) in the Cordillera Dorsal Gallega on the border with Castile-León.
Tourism is important thanks to the beauty of the coastal landscape and the pilgrimage center of Santiago de Compostela, the final destination of the Camino de Santiago. Another pilgrimage center is the small sanctuary of Nosa Señora da Barca di Muxia located in the area of Capo Finisterre. Galicia has a national park, Parque Nacional de las Islas Atlánticas de Galicia, which includes the archipelagos of Cíes, Ons, Sálvora and Cortegada, the region also has six natural parks. Other attractions include the historic cities of Tui and Lugo.
Galicia has 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Roman walls of Lugo, the Roman lighthouse of the Torre de Hércules in La Coruña, the old city of Santiago de Compostela and the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela (numerous sites in different regions of Spain).
- Area: 29,574 km²
- Population: 2,700,000 (2019)
- Capital: Santiago de Compostela