Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

Santiago de Compostela, Spain

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 829 AD and then in 899 AD by a pre-Romanesque church, ordered by king Alfonso III of León, which caused the gradual development of this major place of pilgrimage. In 997 the early church was reduced to ashes by Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir (938–1002), army commander of the caliph of Córdoba. 

Construction of the present cathedral began in 1075 under the reign of Alfonso VI of Castile. It was halted several times and the cathedral was consecrated in not before 1211. The cathedral was expanded and embellished with additions in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

The cathedral has historically been a place of pilgrimage on the Way of St. James since the Early Middle Ages and marks the traditional end of the pilgrimage route. The building is a Romanesque structure, with later Gothic and Baroque additions.

The cathedral's artistic high point is the Pórtico de la Gloria inside the west entrance, featuring 200 masterly Romanesque sculptures by Maestro Mateo, who was placed in charge of the cathedral-building programme in the late 12th century. Now with much of their original colour restored, these detailed, inspired and remarkably lifelike sculptures in Galician granite add up to a comprehensive review of major figures and scenes from the Bible. 

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Details

Founded: 1075
Category: Religious sites in Spain

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rodrigo Ribeiro (4 months ago)
Overall environment of the whole place is magnificent. Shame that the cathedral restoration is still a work in progress but it's still a nice visit. Not many people in these troubled times, which is good. Many places to eat savory spanish dishes and a couple of museums (free ones also) to explore.
Liz T.D (4 months ago)
An absolute must visit, unfortunately tickets must now be bought in advance and no back packs allowed. Try sitting in the Parador outdoor cafe opposite and enjoy the magnificence of the building as the sun sets and glows on the wonderful architecture. From this view point you can relax and enjoy. Food in the cafe good also and good value.. if you're lucky somebody will be singing or playing a beautiful piece of music in the square somewhere.
Diogo Castro Silva (4 months ago)
Very stunning cathedral, it's a pity to be under construction so it's not possible to see it's full glory. Still amazing view after hiking the Caminho de Santiago.
Peter Minchev (4 months ago)
Very nice cathedral, but currently in renovations. Gives me the same creepy feeling as any catholic church.
Jan-Thijs Koster (5 months ago)
Beautiful cathedral. However currently renovation works are going on, so you can’t see its full glory. Even taking that into account, I found the cathedral of Leon a bit more interesting, and more beautiful.
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