The favourable climate conditions and transport links, as well as the many remains of human settlements found from previous cultures lead us to believe that this geographic area was inhabited by Palaeolithic people.
From the prehistoric cultures, the pre Romanic Castro culture is the most famous, as much at a scientific as well as a general population level. Its main characteristic is the settlement type, the fort, from which it takes its name, which stands out not only because of its characteristics but also for the quantity that still remains. In our municipality, we should highlight the Fort de Utia as the origin of the city of Betanzos.
The city was built, starting from the top of the fort, or “Croa”, and extending around it. The terrain’s own orography is used and respected. This high point is precisely where the current Plaza de la Constitución is located, surrounded by buildings such as the City Hall, the Palace of Bendaña, the Tower, the Santiago Church and several houses made of wood. This material, used in construction until the first half of the XVIII century, was the reason for the massive destruction of houses during the fires of 1569 and 1616.
At first, Betanzos extended until the first walled enclosure (including O Castro, Santiago, Lanzós and Ferreiros streets). The yards and gardens ended in a wall that in time, became a street. The second enclosure was open by the XIV-XV centuries, even though the remains are from the XIV, they were later rebuilt during the Catholic Monarchs period. We do not have many remains of this ancient wall, although you can still make it out. It’s mainly occupied by private properties so it can only be seen in some sections (100 m at the Valdoncel Street), where you can see its masonry origin.
Four doors and one side door, all from the XV century, led to the city. The so called “Puerta de la Villa” (city door), in front of the field of the fair, was demolished in 1872 to broaden the city entrance. With the demolition, the battlements also disappeared and the emblems that decorated them were moved. The other three doors were (and still are) the Puente Nuevo (new bridge) door, the Cristo door and the Puente Viejo (old bridge) door. The three of them have a pointed shape, with air vent slits in the first and third doors, the second having a small balcony, a Christ and, behind, a city with a painted sun and moon.
During the XVII century, due to the influence of the Baroque style, some transformations were made: balconies and arcades emerged, and windows in the walls that were previously solid were opened (like in the Lanzós palace). In addition, other works were performed, both inside and outside the city, such as the Bendaña Palace, the Church of Las Angustias and the Santo Domingo Convent.