Explore Santiago de Compostela in Spain

Europe - Editor - 27 January 2012

Explore Santiago de Compostela in Spain

The grandiose Santiago de Compostela in Spain is known as one of the country's most attractive cities. The city, which as a whole has been named a national monument, centers around the cathedral. The golden granite of Santiago de Compostela draws travelers from far and wide who come to experience the history and artistic magnificence of the city.

Santiago de Compostela is renowned as a place of pilgrimage since before the 11th century. In fact, the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James) has become a world famous pilgrimage for Christians. The route travels through France and Spain, leading to Santiago de Compostela. It is believed that many centuries ago a peasant was standing near to where the city is now located and had a vision amidst a field of stars. It is said that soon after this experience the Catholic Church came to discover that Saint James had been buried right where the peasant was standing. Thus the city came to be called Santiago de Compostela, which means "St James of the Field of Stars".

Today the city is still a thriving destination, seat of the regional government of Galicia. All roads in the city lead to the impressive cathedral, located in Praza de Obradoiro. The Obradoiro fa├žade was designed by Fernando Casas y Novoa, and is a grand Spanish Baroque structure with huge bell towers. Statues of St James adorn the area. Behind the Obradoiro is the Portico de Gloria which features the Tree of Jesse. Those on the Camino de Santiago will end their journey at the High Altar. Behind the altar is the Most Sacred Image of Santiago, which pilgrims will embrace, kissing his cape. After this they are awarded a Compostela, a Latin document to certify that they have undertaken the pilgrimage. Also worth viewing at the cathedral are the cloisters, treasury, crypt and archeological museum.

There are a number of other fascinating attractions in Santiago de Compostela. These include the religious sites of San Martin, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Santo Domingo. Located in Santo Domingo is the Museo do Pobo Gallego, which contains items related to Gallego traditions and crafts. Also worth visiting is the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, a lovely art gallery.

There are a number of accommodation options and restaurants in Santiago de Compostela, as well as a tourist office. This marvelous historical city is well worth including in your itinerary when traveling in Spain.


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