The Borough of Teo
The borough has a population of 18,170 inhabitants, scattered over an area of 80 square kilometres. It is bordered to the North by Ames and Santiago, to the South by Padrón and A Estrada, to the East by Vedra and to the West by Brión and Rois.
Access to this borough, situated in the area around Santiago de Compostela, is via the N-550 A Coruña - Tui Road between Santiago and Padrón, or alternatively the C-541 which links Santiago and A Estrada. The A-9 A Coruña - Vigo motorway is just a short distance away, and the nearest airport is Lavacolla (Santiago), just 24 km away.
The orography of this area is characterised by gentle slopes running from North to South and that rise to above 410 metres at Pena Agral and 339 metres at Alto de Montouto, before dropping down to just 100 metres above sea level in the Ulla Valley. The terrain is also marked by the course of the rivers which cross the borough: Santa Lucía, Tella and Rego do Chao (tributaries of the River Ulla) and the Tinto (a tributary of the River Sar). As for the climate, Teo forms part of the hyperhumid ocean environment, characterised by mild temperatures, influenced by the presence of the River Ulla and with average values of 13-14ºC, which drop to 7-9ºC during the winter months. Annual rainfall levels stand at around 1,700-1,800 mm.
With regard to economic data, most of Teo’s workforce (69%) is employed in the service sector. The development of the tertiary sector is attributable mainly to Teo’s proximity to Santiago, as many companies have opted to base their operations in the parishes of Calo, Cacheiras and Os Tilos, due to the excellent communications and more affordable land prices. 28.2% of the population is employed in the construction sector, whilst a mere 2.8% continue to work in farming.
The most important historical event to have taken place in this borough is known as the Battle of Cacheiras. During the dictatorship of Narváez and the popular uprisings that also extended to Teo, General de la Concha was sent to put down Solís’ rebel troops. The battle that took place on 23 April 1843 resulted in the capture of Solís and 11 of his officers. On the way to A Coruña they were subjected to a summary trial in Carral and shot on the spot. Today, this event in the history of Teo is known as the Execution of the Carral Martyrs.
The architectural heritage consists mainly of religious buildings. Visitors to Teo should make a point of visiting the churches of San Simón de Ons (Cacheiras), San Xoán de Calo (which boasts the coat-of-arms of the Counts of Altamira), San Xoán de Recesende, the 19th century Church of Luou or the atrium at San Tomé de Vilariño, which boasts a necropolis dating back to the Middle Ages. Teo also preserves the medieval monasteries of Rarís, Bamonde, Teo and Reis - whose atrium is built in the Romanesque style -, as well as a host of cruceiros (stone crosses) and petos de ánimas (shrines to souls in purgatory).
Yet in addition to Teo’s wealth of religious heritage, the parish of Luou boasts a funerary monument known as the Mámoa de Trasellas, which dates back to around the year 3,000 BC. Other prehistoric monuments include the Monte Angueira petroglyph, a series of cave drawings which were discovered in the late 1970s, measuring around a metre in length and made up of seven circles, three of which include other concentric circles.
The area is also home to several castros - fortified Iron Age settlements. These include Lucí, Santa Marta (in Teo), Sebe (in Cacheiras) or Francos, which, although it actually belongs to the borough of Brión, played a key role in the history of Teo, as according to López Ferreiro, it was the site of the capital of the amaes - the inhabitants of the area known a A Mahia. This latter settlement still preserves the Roman walls that surrounded the top of a steep hill on the banks of the River Tinto.
Santiago and its multiple associations with the Apostle Saint James are of vital importance for the borough of Teo: legend has it that the Castro of Francos was inhabited by Queen Lupa and it is also a stopping place for pilgrims travelling along the Portuguese Way to Santiago.