Introduction: One Galicia, two Galicias, many Galicias
Antonio Bernárdez Sobreira
Why do we choose to approach to the Eastern Galicia in our work? Is Eastern Galicia only an interior one? The answer to the second question is easy: Not. Territorial Analysis and Research Group of Santiago University distinguish three geographical spaces into Galicia. The first one would be the “Athlantic Urban Axis”, a dinamic space that includes the main urban nodes (except Lugo and Ourense) and most of the Galician population. It's a corridor, parallel to the coast including Rías Baixas (Vigo and Pontevedra areas), Santiago, Artabrian Gulf (Coruña area) and Ferrolterra (Ferrol area), with airports, ports and the AP-9, the main highway, the real connector of Western Galicia. To the West it's Costa da Morte and to the East the bigger part of Galicia (Lugo and Ourense's provinces and the interior of A Coruña and Pontevedra's province).
The second space would be the called “Dynamic spaces out of Athlantic Urban Axis”, that is, the cities of Lugo and Ourense and some areas like “Mariña de Lugo” and Valdeorras region (Sil valley). This second space would be a secondary space concentrating services of a wide territory that would form the third space, Rural Galicia, in a clear process of demographical and economical decline. The second and third spaces would form the so-called Eastern Galicia.
Nevertheless, why do we choose Eastern Galicia? First because i'ts our own space of living and working. But Lugo is the capital of a wide administrative node in which we find dynamic regions and towns nex to to the rural world in crisis. The territorial division of Lugo includes a coastal expanding region (A Mariña), interior regions differentiated (Lemos, Sarria, Terra Chá, Ribeira Sacra) and characteristic mountainous areas (Courel, Ancares). We choose to describe A Mariña, Terra Chá and Ribeira Sacra because of their peculiarities and historical traditions. Besides, in the description of the mountainous areas we include another region like Xurés too, a natural border with North of Portugal and with Ancares, Courel and the Central Massif which make a space of great biodiversity and refuge of ancient cultural and ethnographical traditions. We pretend to highlight the geohistorical diversity of Eastern Galicia and, specially of Lugo's province, stressing the fact of a plural and complex Galicia, further away from clichés.
Datos do mapa © dos colaboradores do OpenStreetMap, CC BY-SA
Territorial Analysis and Research Group of Santiago University (2010): "Territorio. Unha interpretación actual desde a xeografía", Informe Galicia 2010, pp. 89-116.