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Cape Finisterre

Cape Finisterre


The town of Finisterre is in the far north west of the Iberian peninsula. It is on a strip of land that juts into the sea joined by a sandy isthmus to the rocky promontory of Cape Finisterre, forming a small peninsula. The point of the Cape separates the two coasts of the municipal area: the west coast is much wilder and less protected; this is the end of the Costa de la Muerte (the Coast of Death);  to the east, looking towards the Ría de Corcubión estuary, is the Sardiñeiro cove,  the most protected coast in the area.

The cape has always had particular significance as a result of its geographic location, as from here all you can see is the  sea, which made this into the finis terrae of Antiquity - the end of the known world - the most westerly point of the Roman Empire and Old Europe. For centuries it was an important nautical reference point, which from ancient times was signalled by the old stone lighthouses and finally by today's lighthouse complex.

When the cult of Santiago and pilgrimages to Compostela became popular, Cape Finisterre became the final stage in the pilgrim routes that converged on Santiago from all over Europe, becoming associated with the primitive symbolism of the end of the known world and the start of the beyond. Christian traditions driven by the church tried to eradicate the intense paganism in the area, resulting in the cult of the Christ of Finisterre and the Easter Resurrection festival; however, the old pre-Christian beliefs, which have continued to our day, remain at the heart of this festival.

Images kindly supplied by the Galicia Tourist Board

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