Traditional legends and mythological beings

Ribeira Sacra is also a land of traditional tales, legends, and mythological beings, with the majority being related to water in some way. These include stories of the ground-dwelling mouras and mouros, mermaid-like xacias, stories of love and conflict, and an endless series of mythical adventures that have been passed down from one generation to the next since time immemorial...

Many historians now agree that the document in which the name Ribeira Sacra is claimed to have first appeared as “Riboyra Sacrata” should have been interpreted as “Rovoyra Sacrata”. This changes the meaning entirely, because the translation of Rovoyra Sacrata would imply association with a "Sacred Oak Grove". This leads to the realisation that this was a region populated by oak trees that were seen by the local populations as sacred, maybe even magical.

Within the sort of magic realism that existed in this ancient land called Galicia, inhabited by gnomes and fairies, witches and enchanted mouras, Ribeira Sacra is intimately linked to tales of the xacias, fish-men, rabudos and papeiros, and even the mother of the devil, who appear in the tales and legends surrounding the grape harvests and winepresses.

This is just one more excellent reason to visit Ribeira Sacra, simply to see whether you will be lucky enough to encounter any of these mythical beings (especially the friendlier ones), who can become part of our lives and our way of seeing the world. They can help us grow deeper roots and motivate us to take care of our forests, vineyards, and streams, which are the home of these unique magical characters. …

Adapted from a text by Anxo Moure

Learn about the most popular myths and legends from Ribeira Sacra