Top Historic Sights in Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Explore the historic highlights of Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

The Santiago de Compostela Cathedral is the reputed burial place of Saint James the Great, the apostle of Jesus Christ. It is also one of the only three known churches in the world built over the tomb of an apostle of Jesus. According the legend, the tomb of Saint James was rediscovered in 814 AD. The king Alfonso II of Asturias ordered the construction of a chapel on the site. This was followed by the first church in 82 ...
Founded: 1075 | Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Pazo de Raxoi

At the beginning of 1760, Archbishop Rajoy comissioned Lucas Ferro Caaveiro to design the plans to erect a building in Plaza del Obradoiro, to house the Local Council, the prison and the Confessors Seminary. Claims brought by the Hospital Real delayed the work and caused a change in architect and a modification to the extension and height of the building. Finally, the French engineer Charles Lemaur began the work in 1767. ...
Founded: 1767 | Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Monastery of San Martiño Pinario

The monastery of San Martiño Pinario is the second largest monastery in Spain after San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Little remains of the original medieval buildings (founded around 899 AD), as the monastery has been largely rebuilt since the sixteenth century. Throughout the Middle Ages the monastery grew so that by the end of the fifteenth century the monastery became the richest and most powerful of Galicia. This brought ...
Founded: 1587 | Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Monastery of San Paio de Antealtares

King Alfonso II founded the Monastery of San Paio de Antealtares in the year 830. It fell into decay at the end of the 13th century, and in ruins, the Catholic Monarchs eliminated it and included it into S. Martín Pinario. In 1495, Gómez de Marzoa´s efforts to set up a college for poor students led to the monastery becoming Compostela´s first school and the origin of Galicia´s Renaissance University. The Order of ben ...
Founded: 1599 | Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Convent of San Domingos de Bonaval

Convent of San Domingos de Bonaval is located in Santiago de Compostela, but outside the old walled city on the slopes of Mount Almáciga, near the place known as Porta do Camiño, which was one of the gates by which pilgrims entered the city. The convent was founded by St. Dominic de Guzman (who went on pilgrimage to Santiago in 1219) in the early thirteenth century. The oldest document which cites the convent, with ...
Founded: c. 1228 | Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Church of Santa María a Real do Sar

Church of Santa María a Real do Sar was built in the 12th century on the outskirts of the city. Interesting elements on the exterior are the small tower on the façade and the sturdy flying buttresses built between the 17th and 18th centuries. It has a basilical floor plan with three naves, separated by composite pillars decorated with plant motifs. It is covered with barrel vaults reinforced by rib arches. The sanctuary ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Castle da Rocha Forte

Castle da Rocha Forte was built by Archbishop Juan Arias around 1240 and has since served as an archbishop's and cabildo's residence, witnessing much of the medieval history of Santiago. In the year 1255 appears the first documentary mention of the fortress in relation to the capitular constitutions of Juan Arias. The castle was situated in a strategic location by road from Padrón village to Santiago. Pilgrims followed t ...
Founded: c. 1240 | Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Varberg Fortress

Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.

King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.

The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.

It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.