Discover Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the Region of Galicia

Discover Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the Region of Galicia. Millions of people from all over the world come to this city every year, many of them reaching the end of the Way of Saint James pilgrimage route. Its historic centre has been designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. This is not the only reason to come, however. Here you can discover the main reasons to visit Santiago.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Discover Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the Region of Galicia
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
Santiago cathedral is the last stop on the pilgrims' journey, and its monumental character makes it supremely worthy of this distinction. This is a key work in the Romanesque style in which numerous architectural styles converge.

Construction on the cathedral was begun in 1075 in the reign of Alfonso VI, and sponsored by Bishop Diego Peláez. The work took place under the direction of Master Esteban on the remains of old churches built in devotion to the saint. It was built with three naves and a floor plan in a Latin cross, and had an area of about 8300 m².

Its countless extensions have added numerous architectural styles to the building (Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Plateresque and neoclassical). The La Gloria portico is the main entrance, and was created by Master Mateo in 1188. It features 200 figures referring to the Apocalypse, and the figure of Saint James the apostle appearing to welcome the pilgrims, supported on a column rising from the mullion.

The Obradoiro façade of the cathedral is the work of Fernando de Casas y Novoa, and is considered to be one of the supreme expressions of the Spanish Baroque. The main altar is also in the Baroque style, and the crypt of Saint James the apostle lies directly beneath.

Collegiate church of Santa María la Real de Sar

Discover Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the Region of Galicia
Collegiate church of Santa María la Real de Sar
It is of particular interest for its slanting columns. It 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 of the collegiate church has three apses; the central one is polygonal and the two side ones are semicircular. The interior lighting comes from the side openings and the rose window on the façade. Elements worth noting in the cloister include the decoration on the capitals, made by the workshop of Master Mateo.

Hostal de los Reyes Católicos

Discover Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the Region of Galicia
Hostal de los Reyes Católicos
An architectural treasure created to provide lodging for pilgrims. Founded by the Catholic Monarchs as a hostel for pilgrims who had completed the Way of Saint James, it is today one of the most outstanding monuments in the famous Obradoiro square in Santiago de Compostela.

It was founded in 1499, and was used as lodgings for the pilgrims who had ended their long journey along the Way of Saint James and finally reached their destination. This beautiful Gothic building has today been converted into a Parador hotel.

One of the highlights is the lovely Plateresque façade decorated with grilles which dates from the 16th century. Either side of the doorway there are two medallions bearing likenesses of the Catholic Monarchs. It has four interior courtyards. One of its most outstanding features is the lovely chapel of Enrique de Egas.

Casa do Cabildo house

Discover Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the Region of Galicia
Casa do Cabildo house
It was built in 1758 and features a beautiful baroque façade. The Casa do Cabildo has a beautiful baroque façade. It was designed by the architect Clemente Fernández Sarela in 1758 and fulfils an ornamental function as it serves to enclose and enhance the Plaza de las Platerías square. The Casa del Cabildo was Valle-Inclán's inspiration for his story 'Mi hermana Antonia'. It was restored by the Santiago Consortium in 2011 and since then has formed part of the network of museums in the historic city.

Galician Contemporary Art Centre (CGAC)

Discover Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the Region of Galicia
Galician Contemporary Art Centre (CGAC)
The terraces of this unique museum afford some of the best views of the historic quarter of Santiago de Compostela. The Galician Contemporary Art Centre (CGAC) is an impressive building, the work of the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza.

Together with the San Domingos de Bonaval Convent and the park of the same name, it forms a harmonious ensemble where the city's traditional and modern facets converge. Along with the Arco Foundation collection, visitors can view works by contemporary Galician artists and a variety of temporary exhibits relating to today's main trends in art.

Santo Domingo de Bonaval

Discover Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the Region of Galicia
Santo Domingo de Bonaval
The museum, located in the old convent of Santo Domingo de Bonaval, was created in 1976. The pieces on display help us understand the different aspects which define Galician culture. It has different rooms dedicated to the sea, trades, the land, clothes, music, the living environment and architecture. It also possesses two sections dedicated to archaeology, and painting and sculpture.

Santiago Cathedral

Discover Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the Region of Galicia
Santiago Cathedral
Access to the Cathedral Museum is via the Plaza del Obradoiro square. It is located in the westernmost part of the cloister of Santiago Cathedral.

The museum's collection includes important archaeological exhibits, sculpture, painting, precious metalwork, tapestries, rugs, liturgical robes, ceramics and furniture. It is also home to the library, where you can see priceless volumes including the Calixtinus Codex, Liber Sancti Jacobi, Los Tumbos and La Historia Compostelana, along with numerous documents of paramount importance to the history of Galicia and, above all, to the Church in Santiago.

The museum exhibits are arranged over various rooms, with an important collection of tapestries based on cartoons by Ginés de Aguirre, Teniers, Rubens, Van Tulden, Bayeu and Goya. One of the rooms is dedicated to Goya himself, with twelve tapestries on display from the Royal Santa Bárbara Factory in Madrid. Two of them are the only ones of their kind: Children with a Cart and The Fountain.

Box hedges, San Lorenzo de Trasouto

Discover Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the Region of Galicia
Box hedges, San Lorenzo de Trasouto
The pazo of San Lorenzo in the city of Santiago is a medieval monastery converted into a residential palace. It dates back to the 13th century, when Martín Arias, the bishop of Zamora, founded a chapel dedicated to St. Lawrence, which later became a modest hermitage for Franciscan monks, surrounded by dense oak forest.

The pazo's exterior gardens are more notable for their lushness and diversity of species than for their layout. But the most striking garden is in the very unusual cloister. This space, with an almost square plan (16 x 18 m), is framed by a walkway and arcades, open on the ground floor and glazed above, surrounding a garden of box hedges, trimmed to form designs that over the years have become strange hieroglyphs, which are now hard to decipher. The establishment provides catering for special events.

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