It is situated on the plain of the river that forms and gives its name to the valley, under the protection of the Castro de Veiga, to the north and of which nothing remains, and of the Castillo de Sarracín to the south, whose silhouette still warns of its protective action on the locality. If the Castle of Sarracín is related to the name of the Count of Bierzo and Astorga, Sarracino, son of Count Gatón, one can speak of Vega de Valcarce as early as the 10th century. During the Middle Ages, the entire Valcarce Valley was a manor belonging to the Archbishopric of Santiago de Compostela who appointed feudal lords to govern the area. These feudal lords charged money to all those who passed by on their way to Galicia. This payment is known as portazgo. It was Alfonso VI who in 1702 tried to suppress it, but it was not achieved until much later. Vega de Valcarce is currently the capital of the municipality to which it gives its name and which is made up of twenty-three villages. It is the last municipality of León on the Way to Santiago de Compostela.
Among the beautiful hamlet of Vega de Valcarce is the parish church of La Magdalena, seventeenth century but reformed at different times, the last in 1980. In the centre of the village a bridge from the 18th-19th centuries helps to save the river Valcarce. Below the hermitage of San Paio, there are the remains of a tomb made of black slate, which date back to medieval times. You can also visit a 19th century mill that has been restored, a reminder of the many that existed in the area in another era, and which still preserves its machinery. Vigilantes, on the top of the hill, the ruins of the Castle of Sarracín still seem to want to protect the locality. From its construction in the 14th century, when it belonged to the Marquis of Villafranca, there is still a tower, an elevated portico in the south, an arched door protected by an antemuro, and the castle walls themselves.
Vega de Valcarce celebrates its patron saint festivities in honour of Santa María Magdalena on the first weekend of August and also this same month but on the 16th it celebrates San Roque.
In Vega de Valcarce it is tradition, in Carnival, to celebrate Entroito. Typical word of the area and of some more or less nearby villages in Bierzo that unites Carnivals with gastronomy. To celebrate Entroito is to dine botillo with cachelos and then everyone dances, if possible disguised.
In the Main Square of Vega de Valcarce, next to a palloza, there is a giant made with the trunk and branches of a tree.
An oral history tells that when the Moors demanded the tribute of the one hundred Maidens, there were five young men from the town who resisted to fulfill that mandate and armed with five stakes they managed to liberate the girls and for that reason the shield of Vega de Valcarce includes the five stakes.
To arrive at Vega de Valcarce we will do it following the A-6, until the section that goes from La Portela de Valcarce until Pedrafita do Cebreiro, being in the surroundings of these two localities where we will find the accesses to the N-VI, by where we will have to continue in search of the crossing with the highway that will finally lead us until the locality, after passing before Ambasmestas or Ruitelán according to arrive until here from Villafranca del Bierzo or from Pedrafita do Cebreiro.
Vega de Valcarce has a bus service on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays that covers the route El Castro-Ponferrada. For further information the telephone number is 900 204 020. There is also a daily bus service that covers the Ponferrada-Lugo line.
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8:05 h.28 km.
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