Costa da Morte
The Costa da Morte received its name because there have been so many shipwrecks along its treacherous rocky shore. Instead of being sheltered by an intricate coastline or by islands as the Rías Baixas region is, the shore of the Costa da Morte is exposed directly to the Atlantic Ocean. It is an area that has been impacted by a number of oil spills, including the spill from the Prestige in 2002.
The exterior cape region is known for anthropological, historical and geographical reasons. Its name in the Galician language is Fisterra, which descends from the pre-Roman legend which held that this area was the end of the world (Finis-terrae). The area was largely Christianized by the Catholic Church with the aid of a large flux of Christian pilgrims arriving on the Way of St. James.
The people of the area still preserve pre-Christian Celtic ritual places and pass on some of the traditional beliefs. For example, there are giant pedras de abalar (i.e. "oscillating stones", the common term in English is rocking stone) throughout the region. These pedras de abalar were sacred Celtic locations and used in various rituals that are remembered in local culture. There is also a local legend that the wind creates wild nightmares.
Major commercial and fishing ports
The Costa da Morte includes Cape Finisterre (Spanish: Cabo Finisterre; Galician: Cabo Fisterra), a rock-bound peninsula in the uttermost west of Galicia, Spain.
Cape Finisterre is not the westernmost point of Spain, contrary to popular belief. This title belongs to Cape Touriñán, which is found just north of Finisterre. Still, Cape Touriñán is not the most western point of Continental Europe (that honour belongs to Cabo da Roca in Portugal). Finisterre's name, like that of Finistère in France, derives from the Latin "Finisterrae" which literally means "Land's End".
Cape Finisterre has a notable lighthouse on it, and the seaside town of Fisterra is located nearby.
These are some of the towns, villages, hamlets and cities along the Death Coast (that is, the "Costa da Morte"):
- Praia de Baldaio
- Punta do Razo
- Punta Falcoeira
- Illas Sisargas
- Punta de Nariga
- Ria de Laxe
- Cabo de Laxe
- Praia de Traba
- Praia do Trece
- Cabo Vilán
- Punta da Barca
- Cabo Touriñán
- Ria de Lires
- Praia do Rostro
- Cabo da Nave
- Rias are flooded river valleys which form estuaries along the coast.
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