The history of La Alameda begins in 1546, when the Count of Altamira made a donation to the municipality to “plant trees and groves”. From that moment on, the grove spaces designed for recreation and recreation were being configured, planting masses of trees visible in some old plans of the city, being López Freire's plans from 1786 the ones that clearly show their organization for the first time.
The current park space, the result of successive projects and reforms, consists of 85.000m divided into three main areas: the Santa Susana carballeira (oak grove) and the Alameda and La Herradura promenades and gardens.
- 19th-20th century
The oldest part of the park is the area known as Alameda, gardens that in the past were known as “Campo da Estrela”. This area has a distribution in three rooms or spaces, a division that until the 19th century was designed to separate the different social classes. This space was changing throughout the 20th century, adapting to the new possibilities offered by gardening, installing a bandstand in which frequent concerts of the municipal band still take place today. Of this space we highlight for the visitor its central walk, where you can enjoy old specimens of camellias, linden trees and bananas and in their furniture, especially the granite benches with artistic cast iron backing, from the well-known Galician factory of Sargadelos.
The carballeira de Santa Susana maintains the same appearance since the 18th century, when it was already an oak grove with some hundred-year-old trees. Throughout the nineteenth century and much of the twentieth century, it hosted the Santiago cattle fair, being the city's "fairground", but since 1971 its function is only recreational, although during the main local festivals -La Ascensión and the Apostle - partially recovers its function as a party field. It owes its name of Santa Susana to the medieval church that stands in the middle of the trees, one of the churches consecrated by Diego Gelmírez in 1102 that still preserves a façade and some other decorative elements from its original factory.
In addition to the aforementioned church, there are other buildings integrated into the park, among them the Pilar church and an interesting modernist architecture: the Santa Susana nursery school, whose origin is in a Pavilion built for the Galician Regional Exhibition of 1909.
The Paseo de la Herradura is arranged as a belt surrounding the cavalry of Santa Susana, forming an oval or horseshoe-shaped walk that can be divided into various sections: the north known as Los Leones; the innermost or closest to the oak grove, called Paseo de Bóveda; and the outermost one that borders the University Campus, known as Paseo de las Letras Gallegas.
The most famous section of La Herradura is known as “Paseo de los Leones”, a long walk that runs between two rows of old oak trees parallel to the Rúa do Pombal from which you can enjoy beautiful views over the cathedral and the monumental area, for it has benches and viewpoints. Along the promenade a bronze sculpture of the Galician writer Ramón María del Valle Inclán has also recently been arranged. Below we can find another sculpture dedicated to writer Isaac Díaz Pardo and another dedicated to Federico García Lorca.
Also the most external section - from which the University campus can be accessed through a magnificent stone staircase - is of great interest, as it concentrates specimens of a great variety and botanical richness, among which some magnolias and palm trees of great age and size, as well as examples of very rare species such as the Normandy fir or Eucalyptus globulus. In this space there is another sculpture, a large stone sculpture-monument from the 19th century dedicated to the Galician writer Rosalía de Castro.