Pontevedra

Pontevedra (Galician: [ˌpontɪˈβɛðɾɐ], Spanish: [ponteˈβeðɾa]) is a Spanish city in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. It is the capital of both the Comarca (County) and Province of Pontevedra, and of the Rias Baixas in Galicia. It is also the capital of its own municipality which is, in fact, often considered as an extension of the actual city.

Pontevedra
City
Motto(s): 
Pontevedra boa vila (The good city of Pontevedra)
Location of the municipality of Pontevedra within Galicia
Pontevedra
Location of Pontevedra in Spain
Coordinates: 42.433619°N 8.648053°W / 42.433619; -8.648053
CountrySpain
RegionGalicia
ProvincePontevedra
ComarcaPontevedra
ParishesAlba, Bora, O Burgo, Campañó, Campolongo, A Canicouva, Cerponzóns, Lérez, Lourizán, Marcón, Monteporreiro, Mourente, Ponte Sampaio, San Bartolomé de Pontevedra, Santa María de Pontevedra, A Virxe do Camiño de Pontevedra, Salcedo, Santa María de Xeve, Tomeza, Verducido, Xeve
Government
  TypeMayor–council
  MayorMiguel Anxo Fernández Lores (BNG)
Area
  Total118.3 km2 (45.68 sq mi)
Elevation
20 m (70 ft)
Population
 (2018)[1]
  Total82,802
  Density701.0/km2 (1,815.5/sq mi)
Demonym(s)pontevedrés (m), pontevedresa (f)
lerense
teucrino (m) teucrina (f)
Time zoneCET (GMT +1)
  Summer (DST)CEST (GMT +2)
Postcode
36001-36164
Area code(s)+34 986 / 886
ISO 3166-2ES-PO
WebsiteCity of Pontevedra

The city is best known for its urban planning, pedestrianisation and the charm of its old town. In recent years, it has been awarded several international awards for its urban quality and quality of life, accessibility and urban mobility policy,[2] like the international European Intermodes Urban Mobility Award in 2013,[3] the 2014 Dubai International Best Practices Award for Sustainable Development awarded by UN-Habitat in partnership with Dubai Municipality[4] and the Excellence Award of the center for Active Design in New York City in 2015,[5] among others. The city also won the European Commission's first prize for urban safety in 2020.[6][7] Pontevedra's car-free center helped transform it into one of the most accessible European cities, leading to various European and American studies of its exemplary urban planning being carried out in recent years.[8]

Surrounded by hills, the city is located on the edge of an estuary at the mouth of the Lérez river by the sea, at the end of the Ria de Pontevedra, in the heart of the Rías Baixas. An economic centre and tourist destination, with a population of 83,260 in 2020,[9] it is at the head of an metropolitan area around its Ria of more than 200,000 inhabitants comprising the municipalities of Poio, Marín, Sanxenxo, Bueu, Vilaboa, Cerdedo-Cotobade, Ponte Caldelas, Barro and Soutomaior.

Pontevedra is the second city in Galicia for its rich heritage, only after Santiago de Compostela. A city of art and history, the city is known as The Good City (name attributed by the French author Jean Froissart in his Chronicles in the 14th century) or The City of the Lérez. The city is also an important stopover on the Portuguese Way path of the Camino de Santiago: the circular church of the Pilgrim Virgin has a floor plan in the shape of a scallop shell and there are scallop shells sculpted in the arches of the medieval Burgo Bridge.

Pontevedra city has an important group of monumental buildings, including the Basilica of Saint Mary Major (16th century) with its plateresque Renaissance façade, the Baroque Church of the Pilgrim Virgin (18th century) with its rounded façade, the ruins of the Gothic Convent of San Domingo (13th century), the Gothic Church of San Francisco (13th century), the Baroque Church of San Bartholomew (end of the 17th century) and the Gothic Convent of Santa Clare (14th century). Its old town contains numerous coat of arms houses (the 15th century House of the Bells or the 18th century García Flórez Palace), mansions – the Mendoza Mansion, Villa Pilar – as well as old palaces such as the 18th century Mugartegui Palace, which is now the headquarters of the Rias Baixas Wine Regulatory Council, or the Counts of Maceda Palace, which is now the National Tourism Parador.[10][11] Another major symbol of the city is the Ravachol Parrot, whose statue is in the city centre. The city also has a marina close to its historic centre. At present, Pontevedra is a city in full revival. It has become the flagship city of the network of cities that walk and one of the cities in the world where children live best, known as The City of Children.[12][13]

Pontevedra is an important administrative centre. The city is marked by a strong presence of administrative and justice services. Pontevedra is the seat of the Provincial Deputation (equivalent to the General Provincial Council), the prefecture (Subdelegación del Gobierno) of the province of Pontevedra as well as the Palace of Justice and the provincial district court (Audiencia Provincial), the provincial police station and the provincial administrative offices.