Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) - place of pilgrimage and rest of Saint. James

Location show on map

Plaza del Obradoiro, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Date of build

1075 - 1211

  • Building type: Church, Cathedral
  • Architectural style: Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque
  • Material: granite
  • Height: 76 meters
    how many meters have Santiago de Compostela CathedralScale
  • Length: 100 meters
  • Architect: Bernard the Elder, Robertus Galperinus, Esteban, Bernard the Younger
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral description and facts:

Finding in the Galician region of north-west Spain, the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral is one of the most important sacred buildings in the whole country, especially because that marks the end of the 790-kilometer pilgrimage route "Camino de Santiago".

People believe that St. James the Great, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus is buried in the cathedral. His body was brought to Galicia after he was beheaded after returning to the holy land.

Construction of the cathedral began in 1075, during the reign of Alfonso VI. The building was created under the direction of Bishop Diego Peláez on the site of an old church dedicated to Saint. Jakub.

Work on the cathedral stopped after the initial stages and was paused until 1100, when the architect - master Esteban created three naves in the shape of a Latin cross . The construction continued throughout the 12th century, and many extensions have been added over the years in various architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, plateausque and neoclassical.

In 1188 the construction of the cathedral was taken over by Mateo, he added one of her most spectacular features - the entrance of Gloria Portico. Decorated with 200 figures depicting the Apocalypse and the figure of Saint. Jakuba, greeting pilgrims at the end of their journey.

The Basilica was finally consecrated in 1211 by Alfons IX.

One of the most interesting elements of the cathedral is the famous Botafumeiro, the biggest tribal in the world, which distracts incense from the congregation. Weighing 60 kg & 160 ft. Is suspended at a height of 20 m above the crowd thanks to a system of ropes and pulleys. For special occasions, Botafuemeiro is rocked by a team of eight tiraboleiros who swing it around the cathedral at speeds of up to 68 km / h. It is believed that this tradition was initiated in order to hide the scent of thousands of pilgrims coming to the cathedral after their great effort.

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is able to accommodate 1200 people inside.

The main hall, preceded by a skylight and surrounded by side aisles, leads to the open four transept chapels. The hall is covered with a barrel vault of Roman origin, while the aisles are covered with vaults originating from the nobles from the Roman period. The nave is 22 m high and the internal arches rise to only 9.5 m.

Admission to the cathedral is free, it also allows you to see the tomb of Saint James. You can also buy an additional pass, which entitles you to "full access" around the crypt, monasteries and other museum areas.

The main facade of the cathedral overlooks the Obradoiro square and is named after this square "El Obradoiro". Opposite this elevation is the Rajoy Palace, now the building of the parliament of Galicia.

Standing in front of the "El Obradoiro" façade, the is a very detailed and decorative central section with much less complicated wings on both sides. In fact, it is only the middle part, which is called the square, although it is not the original facade, but an eighteenth-century replacement.

Looking at the cathedral from the square its most characteristic feature is a pair of towers named "Torre de la Carraca" and "Torre de la Campanas". Like the cathedral stairs, many parts of the building that these towers have come from several different eras. Lower and more original levels date back to the 12th century, while higher and newer additions date from the 17th to the 18th century. These 70-meter towers also combine Baroque and Romanesque styles and demonstrate the level of masonry work unsurpassed throughout Spain.

On both sides of cathedral are located respectively, the monastery on the right and the archbishop's palace on the left. Although they look symmetrical at first glance, they are actually quite different in design.

Part of Quintana facade, from the "Plaza de la Quintana" side, offers a completely different view. It presents a Baroque holy door, open only in the holy year. There is one of the entrances here, which contains twenty-seven carved likenesses, with Saint. Jakub and his two supporters at the forefront. Passage through this iron barred hole leads through a small courtyard to the "Puerta Santa" (holy door).

The north facade (Acibecheria) has only a small façade, but is equally decorated as the main façade, combining both a Baroque and neo-classical style. The last facade (Praterias), visible from the goldsmiths' square, contains the "Torre de la Trinidad" clock tower and a part of the monastery.

It is estimated that about 2.5 million tourists and pilgrims visit the cathedral every year. Mostly traveling by trains and planes, but also those arriving on foot from France, Portugal or Spain. The most popular route starts in the French St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago, located 790 kilometers from Santiago de Compostela.

To get a certificate from Compostela, you must go at least 100 kilometers, which is why the distance of 111 km Sarria is one of the most frequent starting places for those who start their journey. However, those arriving by bicycle have to travel 200 kilometers to get a certificate.

Whenever the feast of Saint. Jacob (July 25) falls on a Sunday, the cathedral in Santiago announces the holy year. The last such situation took place in 2010 and is expected to be repeated again in 2021.

In 1985, the old city of Santiago de Compostela was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In 1993, the Camino de Santiago route was also entered on the UNESCO list.

Official website:


The site is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Date of inscription: 1985       Ref: 347

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3 years ago
To taka nasza polska Częstochowa ;) Chociaż wygląda duuużo ładniej :)
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