Santiago de Compostela

Guide to Santiago de Compostela, a holy city located in Galicia, Spain

Cities of Galicia - Santiago de Compostela

The Cathedral - Santiago de Compostela GaliciaSantiago de Compostela Galicia - A UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of Spain's most interesting cities, Santiago de Compostela is the capital of Galicia, in the extreme north-west of the country. A place of pilgrimage since the 9th century, it is the supposed burial place of St James the Apostle, who was allegedly buried there in AD44 and rediscovered by a religious hermit in 813, guided by a star (hence the name, derived from the Latin Campus Stellae "Field of the Star").

One of the World's Holy Cities, Santiago de Compostela is a sizeable city with a population of around 93,000 and a history which goes back to the 4th century when it was founded by the Suebi people. Later occupied by the Visigoths, it briefly came under the control of the Moors in the 8th century, before being recaptured by the Visigothic King of Asturias in 754.

After the discovery of the bones of St James the Apostle in 813, a church was erected by Alfonso II and the pilgrimage to the site became a huge phenomenon, which has continued to this day.

The old city gathered around the Praza do Obradoiro has numerous fine historic buildings comparable to anywhere in Europe and is a good place to start a visit.

The amazing cathedral (shown above), which towers over the Praza do Obradoiro, dates from the 11th to 13th centuries, but was built on the earlier 9th century church begun by Alfonso II in the 9th century. Much of the interior is original, though the choir has been completely restored and the Baroque Obradoiro fa├žade was added in the 18th century.

The University of Santiago de Compostela was founded in the 16th century, and its existence has a great effect on the dynamics of the city, with students forming a large section of the community.

Santiago de Compostela today is a busy touristic city, with a vibrant nightlife scene, and plenty of interesting places to visit. The pilgrimage - The Way of St James, still brings in over 100,000 visitors each year, providing a considerable income for the city.

Santiago de Compostela can be accessed via the AP-9 (E-1) motorway, the N-550 and the N-525, it can also be reached by rail and has its own airport, to the north-east of the city.

Santiago de Compostel Links: Santiago de Compostela Map - Santiago de Compostela Weather

Galicia Links: Galicia - Galicia Map - Galicia Weather

Galicia Places: Vigo

Other Places: Oviedo - Llanes

Related: Andalucia - Catalonia - Valencia - Madrid - Barcelona

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