The visitor centre, CIAV (Centro de Interpretación y Atención al Visitante or Visitor Services and Interpretive Centre) is located at the foot of the ramp leading to the Tower of Hercules. Designed to receive visitors and provide them with historical and current information about the monument and its surroundings, the CIAV consists of two spaces, the first of which is a reception area where. Here, in addition to information on the Tower of Hercules, visitors can get information about the city's tourist resources and buy tickets to visit the lighthouse.
In the second space, on the left-hand side, there are a variety of displays, maps, models and interactive screens that provide visitors with information about the historical evolution of the lighthouse and its surroundings from the perspective of heritage, culture and society. There are three relief maps on display which analyse data on the lighthouse, highlighting its importance in trade routes from Roman times until today and immersing viewers in the historical period of when the lighthouse was created. There is also a model of a Roman trireme (sailing vessel with three rows of oars), as well as a hypothetical reconstruction of the tower in Roman times next to a model of the modern-day tower, which both recreates the tower's original form and allows viewers to compare the lighthouse at two different periods in history.
There are several screens displaying an array of information about the monument, including posters, images, maps and early blueprints. There is also a slideshow that uses a series of images to explain the phases of the tower's construction. All content is complemented by information panels on the tower's historical evolution and key events. There are also descriptions of Roman construction methods, a copy of the Tabula Peutingeriana (illustrated map of the Roman road network), the engraved signatures of those who worked on the building and the evolution of its function as a maritime signal and instrument of navigational aid from the time it was built to the present day.
The Sculpture of Hercules
The CIAV has a unique piece on display, a sculpture by Francisco Leiro depicting Hercules with his legendary mace and cloaked in the skin of the Nemean lion.
Leiro is one of the Galician sculptors with the greatest international reach on the art scene today, linked in his beginnings with Grupo Atlántica. Born in Cambados in 1957, he settled in New York in 1988 when he began working for Marlborough Gallery. His works can be found in the most important art museums around the world and in major public and private collections.
It is through wood that Leiro finds his most genuine expression, although he has worked with a variety of materials. The Hercules in the Interpretation Centre is a bronze cast and a good example of his particular style of treating the material in a blunt manner and seeking to express an often tragic or ironic perspective in the humanity of his subjects.
Leiro is also the creator of the bronze doors of the Tower of Hercules. The sculptor uses the doors to create a visual account of the monument's intangible heritage by engraving images in relief. He portrays the myths and legends of the lighthouse on the leaves of its two main doors, evoking, in a way, the narrative of the stained-glass windows of ancient cathedrals.