Praza da Ferreria (Ferreria square)
This is a large and busy square in the heart of Pontevedra's old quarter that is in reality made up of three separate and much smaller squares. It is also the part of town where you can find the Igrexa de San Francisco and the famous and unique "Capela da Virxe Peregrina" (chapel of the pilgrims).
Right, A smaller square leading to the Ferreria plaza.
We felt that this square, or collection of plazas, was probably the most appealing part of Pontevedra city and was both beautiful and active with a real atmosphere. We also had the feeling that, despite the many tourists and sightseers, this was a genuine part of the old town with an undiluted history and little in the way of concessions to its visitors.
A closer look at the Praza da Ferreria
This plaza is also bordered by the "rua Michelena", a road that follows the original line of the towns ancient walls (no longer visible), and is also only a short distance from another religious icon, the "Convento de Santa Clara". This area of Pontevedra attracts a lot of tourism and is always busy.
Left, looking across the square to the church of Saint Francis with the gardens in the foreground.
The "Praza da Ferreria" can best be described as one of the "happening" areas of Pontevedra. On one side of the square there is an area with a series of formally set out market stalls and also some columned arches that create a colonnaded walkway. On the Tuesday lunchtime (around 1.00pm to 1.30pm) when we were there, a brass band was playing in this area which is also choc-a-block with café bars and business people.
As you leave this part of the square and move into the more open area, you get vistas of the two churches and also some ornamental gardens that sit in front of, and below, the large "San Fransico" church.
The streets and alleys around the Ferreria plaza are a Mecca for all kinds of shopping and it appeared to us that, aside from tourists and pilgrims, this was the point in Pontevedra where many of the locals would meet up for lunch or a coffee. It is also a great point from which you can take photographs or video and an elevated balcony area, to the side of St. Fransisco's church, offers views of the square and beyond. The photo to the right was taken from this elevated position.
In terms of other things to look at, the square has a "cruceiro" (stone cross) along with several traditional granite buildings with red tiled roofs and attractive facades. There are also changes in the level of the plaza around its parameter, with some terraced areas dropping down to bars and shops with coloured canopies and parasols covering the seating.
An obligatory ornamental fountain also spurts water in front of the church of St. Fransisco, whilst an equally elaborate drinking water fountain sits in the shadow of the Pilgrim's chapel.
Left, another shot looking down and across a part of the square.
The only negative we could point to was the refurbishment of one of the buildings facing the square. This was covered in a tarpaulin and consequently detracted slightly from the view, but you get this in every city.
Where the name comes from
The name of the square, " Ferreria", is connected to its original activity of iron forging! The other connecting plazas are the "praza da Estrela" and the "praza da Peregrina.