Monday, September 04, 2006

Part Three: The Forts

There must be very few places in the world where, in the space of little more than twenty kilometres of coastline, one comes across six forts: the castle of Santiago da Barra, in Viana do Castelo, Castelo Velho, in Areosa, Forte de Paçô, in Carreço, Cão, in Gelfa, Lagarteira, in Âncora, and that of Ínsua, in Caminha. In times past, the forts protected the well-stocked settlements from pillage but, today, are mere sentinels that have lost their war-like purpose, but still play an evocative role in the landscape. The fort of Ínsua, situated on a small island in the sea, near the mouth of the River Minho, perhaps best represents this. Visiting the forts today activates the memory and imagination for their use is now often very different from their history.


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