Santiago de Compostela (also known as St. James of Compostela) is the regional capital of the autonomous region of Galicia in North Western Spain.
Within Galicia Santiago to Compostela can be found in the province of A Coruna and was in the year 2000 in fact European City of Culture. Dominating the skyline from virtually every way you look at it is the massive cathedral for Santiago de Compostela which is the destination for the majority of all the pilgrims on the medieval pilgrimage route, the way of St. James (known in Spanish as the Camino de Santiago).
The way of St. James is such a massive phenomenon that effectively it is calculated that approximately every year 100,000 pilgrims travel on foot, travel by bicycle, donkey or horseback to walk the historic route.
They travel home well over a hundred countries throughout the world to claim their certificate called a Compostela which is based on the various credentials that they have picked up on the route in their Pilgrim Passport. These are effectively stamps that they picked up from the Towns or villages along the route basically providing evidence and information the pilgrims have actually travelled the route.
But back to Santiago and its Cathedral. It truly is impressive and worth a visit and according to some is the third largest cathedral of its kind in the world after St. Peter’s in Rome and Canterbury Cathedral in England.
As has been described as one of the greatest shrines of all Christendom which is basically a fairly impressive statement claimed to make but once you see the cathedral at Santiago to Compostela you understand why. This monument to St. James truly is a majestic sight.
The core of the present building dates from the event and 13th centuries and stands on the site of the original basilica built by Alfonso II in the ninth century.
One of the truly timeless and impressive aspects that is key to the Cathedral at Santiago is that behind the baroque façade and once you pass through the original Portico da Gloria you walk into an interior that was effectively the same as met the pilgrims in the middle ages.
It truly is at times like these that you get a sense of perspective and realize that basically we only pass this way through the world briefly and we are reminded at times like these of the timeless nature of some of the world’s great buildings.
Let us not try to oversell or undersell the Cathedral at Santiago but let’s be honest it truly is one of the world’s great buildings and is definitely a sight worth travelling some way to see.