Santiago de Compostela, commonly known as Santiago, is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia in northwestern Spain.
The city has its origin in the shrine of Saint James the Great, now the city’s cathedral, as destination of the Way of St. James, a leading Catholic pilgrimage route originated in the 9th century. In 1985 the city’s Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The cathedral borders the main plaza of the old and well-preserved city. Legend has it that the remains of the apostle James were brought to Galicia for burial. In 813, according to medieval legend, the light of a bright star guided a shepherd who was watching his flock at night to the burial site in Santiago de Compostela. The shepherd quickly reported his discovery to the bishop of Iria, Bishop Teodomiro. The bishop declared that the remains were those of the apostle James and immediately notified King Alfonso II in Oviedo. To honor St. James, the cathedral was built on the spot where his remains were said to have been found. The legend, which included numerous miraculous events, enabled the Catholic faithful to bolster support for their stronghold in northern Spain during the Christian crusades against the Moors, but also led to the growth and development of the city.
Along the western side of the Praza do Obradoiro is the elegant 18th century Pazo de Raxoi, now the city hall. Across the square is the Pazo de Raxoi (Raxoi’s Palace), the town hall, and on the right from the cathedral steps is the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, founded in 1492 by the Catholic Monarchs, Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand II of Aragon, as a pilgrims’ hospice (now a parador). Santiago is the site of the University of Santiago de Compostela, established in the early 16th century.
Santiago de Compostela has a substantial nightlife. Both in the new town (a zona nova in Galician, la zona nueva in Spanish or ensanche) and the old town (a zona vella in Galician or la zona vieja in Spanish, trade-branded as zona monumental), a mix of middle-aged residents and younger students maintain a lively presence until the early hours of the morning. Radiating from the center of the city, the historic cathedral is surrounded by paved granite streets, tucked away in the old town, and separated from the newer part of the city by the largest of many parks throughout the city, Parque da Alameda.
Take a few days to discover Santiago de Compostela and enjoy all its beauty. Book your accommodation here.
Santiago de Compostela points of interest
In the map you will find all Camino’s and their entrance into Santiago de Compostela, and additionally the locations of;
- The Cathedral
- Pilgrim’s Office (new location indicated by blue pilgrims icon)
- ATM points
- Google maps provides all other important points of interests and restaurants in and around Santiago de Compostela
The Pilgrim’s office where you can obtain your Compostela (pilgrim’s certificate) has a new location within the recently opened ‘Centro Internacional de Acogida al Peregrino’ at the address ‘Rua das Carretas’. The pilgrim’s office initiated services in this new location on 18 December 2015 and will be temporarily installed on the lower level until approximately Easter 2016. The lower level can be accessed via Rua de Domingo Garcia-Sabell.
Other activities and services of the new International pilgrim’s center include: multilingual information services, library dedicated to the study of Saint James, tourist information office dedicated to The Way and Galicia, center used by official pilgrims associations of the Camino, admin and info area, interfaith center, assembly hall, and a chapel.
The advantages for all people involved are obvious from the list of activities and services above, but one advantage will stand out for us pilgrims: hopefully we’ll no longer have to wait for multiple hours in line (standing) to get the Compostela!
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