The castle was built with a clear purpose: dominating the lord’s land. Its location, few kilometres from the apostolic seat, made it the archbishop’sresidence in times of urgency and crisis. A place where to oppose and face the aggression of the city locals. But A Rocha was also an administrative control centre of the domain. It was where toll and taxes were paid for entry to Santiago and an outpost protecting the roads leading to the ports of Padrón and Noia.
The multifunctionality of this monumental architecture is beyond doubt but first and foremost it was a formidable military installation conceived as a defensive scenario for war. The castle-dwelling of A Rocha Forte was an architectural tool that served a constant remainder of who ruled their lives and properties.
In the Late Middle Ages, when A Rocha was built, Santiago saw a massive expansion of pilgrimages, with an increase in pilgrims from all over the world but especially from northern Europe, who came by sea. There was also greater social variety as there were pilgrims from all walks of life from the poor to the high nobility and even in some cases royals and from every profession, with a significant presence of traders.