Santiago de Compostela, Spain is the main attraction along the pilgrimage route of the Camino de Santiago, the camino francés, which crosses the Pyrenees from France and heads west across northern Spain. The city’s Cathedral is very impressive, although it was under construction/renovation when we visited. Santiago de Compostela has more than 4.5 million visitors per year, and even more during Holy Years.
- Casco Antiguo is the old section of town with stone-paved narrow streets. There are many convents and churches.
- Cathedral. Parts of the Cathedral date to the late 1100s. An old Romanesque sculpture, the Pórtico de la Gloria is the original entrance with three arches having figures from the Apocalypse, the Last Judgment, and purgatory. Because of the renovations, we didn’t get to see this entrance. St. James is the figure on the altar, and it is when his birthday falls on a Sunday that there are “Holy Years”. The crypt under the altar has Saint James’ remains.
- Hostal dos Reis Católicos (Hostel of the Catholic Monarchs). Next to the Cathedral is the Hostel, which was built in 1499 by Ferdinand and Isabella to house the pilgrims who slept on Santiago’s streets every night. It is the oldest hostel in the world.
Thanks to Fodor’s Travel Guides, Trip Advisor, and Wikipedia for the great lessons that helped me to plan and summarize this trip.