Deeply linked to the genesis of the lands of Valdevez, the Romanesque castle of Santa Cruz, in Vila Fonche, plays a role of particular interest in local history.
Until the 12th century, Valdevez was, in all probability, the head of the whole of Ribeira-Lima. It quickly assumed a strategic position of real support for a defensive line on the border with Galicia, based on the Monção-Lindoso axis. It represented the rear of the castles of Monção, Melgaço and Castro Laboreiro.
The Arcos de Valdevez Court has as its original head the Santa Cruz Castle, as a physical entity to support defense, security and, at the same time, encourage the settlement of populations.
The new royal strategy of reinforcement and defense dynamics based on the border castles, undertaken from the 13th century onwards, with more complex structures, now not only for defense but especially for attack, condemn the old castles, so that in the Inquisitions of 1258 Santa Cruz appears already abandoned.
It is currently possible to discern in the place occupied by the gigantic granite block general traces of the old defensive structure, with traces of the elementary fence, low, and the foundations of the keep, located on the highest top of the stone outcrop.
Occupying a promontory to the west of the village, the original site of a medieval castle, the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Castelo houses one of the most ancestral and important cults in the county, which moves hundreds of people and decorates the main arteries of the Arcuense village with flowery carpets.
Initially, the festivities took place in May, June and July, and currently they take place in May/June, on Ascension Sunday, that is, 40 days after Easter, considering Sunday as the main day of the pilgrimage, when the image of Our Lady returns from the village to her hermitage, located on Monte do Castelo, where he will remain for another year, and from where he left, days before, to the Church of Vila Fonche and from there to the temple of Vila: the Igreja Matriz.