Tag Archives: Santiago de Compostella

Santiago de Compostela, Cathedrals and Pilgrims

Santiago Cathedral

“The twin towers of the Cathedral soar into the blue in a sensational flourish of Baroque, covered everywhere with figures of St James in pilgrim guise, crowned with balls, bells, stars, crosses and weathercocks speckled with green lichens and snapdragons in the crevices and exuding a delightful air of cheerful satisfaction” – Jan Morris

There was certainly no mistaking that this is a very holy city indeed and the route to the Cathedral was lined with churches, monasteries and seminaries and finally we emerged into the central square, Praza de Obradoiro, where the Cathedral (which is depicted on Spanish eurocent coins) loomed high above in a most spectacular and impressive way.  Inside, the Cathedral is nearly a hundred metres long and over twenty metres high and is the largest Romanesque church in Spain as well as being one of the biggest in Europe.

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Galicia, Camino de Santiago (The Way of St James)

Santiago de Compostella

There is no historical reason why Santiago should be a place of historical pilgrimage, why the cunning monks of Cluny should foster its international reputation or why that joyful shrine should exist at all.  It is only an illusion; but so long as it has been in the Spanish mind… it has achieved a kind of truth.”    Jan Morris – ‘Spain’

In 1998 I won a competition in the Times newspaper for an all expenses paid weekend to a chateaux in Cahors in France.  This was the result of answering three simple questions about the Apostle Saint James and the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela, which were about pilgrimages and seashells.  I was glad that I knew the answers and ever since had the place on my ‘to visit’ list.

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