After three weeks of opening to the public, the Torres de Oeste Cultural Activation Center (CACTO), is exceeding expectations in terms of the number of visits and evaluations. During this period, the exhibition facilities were visited by more than 500 people.
People who come to the center especially appreciate the possibility of knowing how the Viking Pilgrimage takes place. The visit allows an approach to the footprint of the Nordic peoples and to the Pilgrimage that is held every summer in Catoira, as a festival of international tourist interest, with a large-format video-production in the basement, which allows you to relive the Viking landing in the first place person.
The CACTO was born as an interpretation center for Torres de Oeste. An approach to the history of this enclave: an island at the mouth of the Ulla river that constituted the access door and protection border from the ocean to the interior of Galicia and the lands of Compostela “Torres de Oeste, key and seal of Galicia “.
With this look, a journey is made from the past of prehistory in the environment, the primitive commercial maritime traffic in the Castro culture and continued during the Roman Empire, when we already found the identification of “Turris Augusti” at the mouth of the Ulla river. In the high Middle Ages, the enclave took on a new role, with the reconstruction and reinforcement of the fortification, already named “Castellum Honesti”, to face the incursions of new threats from the sea: the “men from the north” in search of riches in Jakobusland – as Galicia was called -. Beyond the stage of Viking raids, the Galician coasts suffered from the Almorabid pirates approached by sea from the south of the peninsula. In this context, the figure of Diego Xelmírez emerges, who lived as a child in the Torres de Oeste castle itself, and who later, as archbishop of Santiago, gave a boost to the defenses of the Arousa estuary, in the Castelo de West, and promoted the construction, in the shipyards of the river Ulla, of the first fleet of galleys of the Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula, to defend and successfully combat the incursions on the coasts of the Galician estuaries.
The center has information panels, an exhibition of replicas that contextualize different stages in the history of the Towers, and various audiovisual units that allow an interactive and immersive insight into the contents of the exhibition. On the upper floor there is a space for cultural activity dedicated to presentations and workshops for school visits. Meanwhile, this space is used as an exhibition extension with a look at the cultural heritage of the City Council of Catoira.