Deeply linked to the genesis of the lands of Valdevez, the Romanesque castle of Santa Cruz in Vila Fonche assumes a role of particular interest in local history.
Until the twelfth century, Valdevez was, in all likelihood, the head of the entire Ribeira-Lima. Quickly assumed a strategic position of real support to a defensive line of border with Galicia, based on the axis Monção-Lindoso. It represented the rear of the castles of Monção, Melgaço and Castro Laboreiro.
The Judge of Arcos de Valdevez has as its primitive head the Castle of Santa Cruz, as physical entity of support to the defense, security and, simultaneously, stimulus of fixation of populations.
The new royal strategy of reinforcement and dynamics of defense based on the frontier castles, undertaken from the thirteenth century, with more complex structures, now not only defense but above all attack, condemn the old castles, so that in the Inquiries of 1258 Santa Cruz is already abandoned.

At present it is possible to discern in the place occupied by the gigantic granite block general traces of the old defensive structure, with vestiges of the elemental fence, low, and the foundations of the keep, situated at the highest top of the stone outcrop.


Occupying a promontory west of the village, the original site of a medieval castle, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Castle houses one of the most important and important cults of the county, which moves hundreds of people and decorates with flowery carpets the main arteries of the village of Arcuense.
Initially, the festivities were held in May, June and July, and currently take place in May / June, Ascension Sunday, that is, 40 days after Easter, considering the main day of the pilgrimage on Sunday in that the image of Our Lady returns from the village to her hermitage, situated in Monte do Castelo, where she will remain for another year, and from where she had left, days before, for the Church of Vila Fonche and from there to the temple of the Village: the Mother Church.







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