Few places have their name so deeply rooted in the idiosyncrasy of their people. As it is well known, “merca” comes from “mercar”, or what is the same “to buy”. In other words, buying and selling, which is what the vast majority of its inhabitants (the dealers) have traditionally dedicated their “modus vivendi” to, throughout the fairs and markets of Galicia. Hence, it is not unreasonable to think that the emergence of its capital city came from the fair that on the 26th of each month was held at a crossroads.
But this is the penultimate story, because there were others before that and no less interesting than those of its neighbours. Stories that have left us such unique traces as one of their villages being called A Mosque, when, as far as we know, there has never been one there. Or yes. Who knows, the traveller!
Whether there has been a mosque or not, what we do know for sure – because it is still there to be seen – is the permanence of one of the most sober, and therefore spectacular, Romanesque churches that are preserved in Galicia: San Pedro de A Mezquita.
The spectacular hórreos (basketwork), which in this case are preserved in the capital of the municipality, testify that the traditional economy also has much to thank for the fertility of its land, bathed lengthwise by the river Arnoia, at the foot of which are drawn other landscapes and other locations, once lively and even stately, as Olás or Ponte Hermida.