Mon-Fri 8-17, Sat-Sun 10-16
(UK time)

Santiago de Compostelo, Galicia - the end point of the famous Way of St. James

Show all
Santiago de Compostelo, Galicia - the end point of the famous Way of St. James

In the north-west of Spain, in the picturesque region of Galicia, there is one of the most impressive cities in the country and an ancient pilgrimage center - Santiago de Compostelo. It is the end point of the Way of St. James - the oldest route of the pilgrims. Every year, thousands of pilgrims, armed with the traditional staff and the emblem of the yellow shell, overcome this path. The narrow medieval streets of Santiago de Compostelo lead past beautiful churches right up to Obraideiro Square, home to a majestic Christian cathedral.

Historical reference

In 813, at the site of the cathedral, the remains of the first tortured disciple of Christ were discovered. For their storage, the monarch Alfonso II ordered the construction of a temple, and pilgrims from all over Europe reached out to the holy relics. In the 12th century, Santiago de Compostelo was officially declared a holy city.

During the Middle Ages, the pilgrim center experienced its ups and downs, like other European cities. However, Santiago de Compostelo received a new round of development in 1495 with the opening of the USC University, which teaches students to this day.

The main attractions of Santiago de Compostelo

Today Santiago de Compostelo is not only a place of pilgrimage for Christians, but also a major university center. Every year, thousands of travelers head to the city to walk the Way of St. James, worship his relics or get acquainted with the architecture and culture of the ancient city.

Obradoiro Square

An excursion to Santiago de Compostelo begins with a tour of the architectural ensemble of Obraidoro Square: this is where the pilgrims' path ends and a large number of tourists gather.

Archbishop Elmires Palace

On the north side is the palace of Archbishop Elmires. In the XII century, the clergyman was an important church figure, it was under him that the importance of the ecclesiastical diocese of Galicia increased.

Hospital of the Catholic Kings

The graceful Renaissance building perfectly complements the architectural composition of Obraidoro Square. Inside the hospital, the tourist will see a Gothic-style chapel and 4 courtyards. Similar shelter structures were erected in the 16th century in many cities of Spain.

Rahoy Palace

The palace was built in the style of French neoclassicism of the 18th century and fits perfectly into the medieval architecture of the square. From the outside, the building looks very massive, and the arcade gallery formed by rectangular columns enhances the effect.


The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostelo is striking in its magnificence. The temple was built in the form of a Latin cross and, accordingly, has 4 facades: southern, northern, eastern and central. The towers of the cathedral are 80 m high. The chapel and naves of the temple are made in the Romanesque style of the XI-XII centuries. But in the 18th century, the appearance of the cathedral was changed: a large number of decorative elements were added, the Clock Tower (Torre de la Trinidad), which can be seen from all squares of the city, a balustrade, and the facade was replaced.

The Christian Cathedral is a symbol of the city, and its photographs are adorned with many guidebooks, magazines and websites.

The interior of the cathedral:

  • The tomb of St. James is the main shrine of the cathedral, located in the underground of the temple. The crypt got its modern look after excavations carried out at the end of the 19th century: the relics were placed in a silver urn, and then in a wooden casket lined with red velvet
  • The Portico of Glory, installed in the cathedral, symbolizes the evolution from earthly to heavenly. Built in the 12th century, it forms three arches supported by columns. The central vault is decorated with figures of Jesus Christ, his disciples and heavenly inhabitants, carved in stone
  • The main chapel of the temple is made of silver and precious wood, and the statue of the apostle was carved from stone in the 13th century
  • A museum that showcases a rich collection of Spanish art from the 9th to 19th centuries.

Interesting Facts

  • Santiago de Compostelo is the third of the greatest religious cities in the world after the Vatican and Jerusalem
  • The treasury of the cathedral contains relics collected over 1000 years of existence
  • A tour of the city streets will open to travelers Christian churches and monasteries built in honor of little-known martyrs and saints
  • In 1985, the historic part of the city of Santiago de Compostelo was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, in 1993 the Way of St. James was included there.

Object type: pilgrimage center.

Read also...
You may be interested

Your comment/review/question:
Callback Free course selection Online consultant