Art, history, culture, faith: these and other elements blend perfectly and harmoniously in Santiago de Compostela. Today, with its splendid Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque buildings, it is one of the most beautiful urban centers.
Since 1985, Santiago Old Town has been included, with good reason, among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Of its splendid historical center, the marvelous Cathedral is certainly the place of greatest charm and suggestion; as well as the symbol of Christianity, which attracts more and more tourists every year. And, as such, it is the most visited place and, therefore, the most touristic.
This sumptuous Romanesque monument was built where the remains of the apostle of Jesus, James the Greater, were found. It is one of the largest Catholic shrines in the world. Seeing it in all its majesty is truly amazed … despite the crowds and the continuous scaffolding. Let alone, what the faithful must feel in seeing this marvel, after having traveled endless kilometers on foot or by bike along the Way!
According to legend, King Alfonso II of Asturias had a small church built in the place where the body of the Apostle was found. The church, later enlarged, was completely destroyed (except the tomb) by the Arabs in the 10th century; these, they stocked up on everything, including the doors and bells that were brought into the mosque of Cordoba! It was in 1075 that work began on the current Cathedral.
A monumental seventeenth-century staircase precedes the Baroque Fachada do Obradoiro, that is, the main entrance to the Cathedral. On both sides there are the two medieval towers: the Torre das Campus and the Torre de Carraca. The marvelous interior preserves some incredible jewels: the Portico della Gloria, is the masterpiece of Romanesque sculpture. The Capilla Mayor is the real heart of the Cathedral; here is the main altar with the statue of St. James: the pilgrims, climbing a staircase located behind the altar, can embrace the statue and kiss the cloak. Under the altar, on the other hand, is the crypt where the relics of the Apostle and his disciples are kept.
The Basilica is open every day, from 07:00 to 21:00.
The Cathedral Museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10am to 2pm and from 4pm to 7pm. Sunday, from 10am to 2pm. Closed on Mondays.
The ticket costs €12.00 (individual basic) and offers access to the Pórtico de la Gloria, the permanent collection of the Museum, Palacio de Gelmírez and temporary exhibitions.
For all the info and updates, you can refer to the official website from this link.
The Santiago Old Town is also a fantastic succession of streets, alleys and beautiful squares, such as Plaza do Obradoiro. You will be enchanted! This beautiful square embodies the spirit and beauty of Santiago. From here, in addition to the spectacular and majestic facade of the Cathedral, you can admire some beautiful buildings; Palacio Gelmírez, a beautiful 12th century building, seat of the Archbishopric; the Hospital de los Reyes Católicos, a splendid fifteenth-century building, now home to the luxurious 5-star extra-luxury Parador de Santiago, also known as Hostal de los Reyes, belonging to the Paradores chain. Pazo de Raxoi (Palacio de Rajoy), on the west side, is a classical building from the 18th century; it is the seat of the Ayuntamiento and of the Presidencia de la Xunta de Galicia, or the Government of the Region.