Santiago de Compostela Tourist Attractions
The old capital of the kingdom of Galicia, Santiago de Compostela, the see of a metropolitan archbishop and the seat of an ancient university, lies in northwestern Spain some 35km/22mi from the Atlantic coast. Northwest of the town, which is one of the rainiest places in Spain, is Monte Pedros (735m/2,412ft).Note: Much of the old town of Santiago and the area around the cathedral is closed to traffic. Visitors traveling by car will do well to leave their car in the multi-story parking lot at the northern end of Calle San Francisco, to the north of the Plaza del Obradoiro.
Famous for its grand Cathedral, Santiago de Compostela attracts large numbers of visitors for pilgrimage each year. The Cathedral is a sacred place of worship in Christendom in the same league as Jerusalem and Rome.
Plaza del Obradoiro is one of the premier attractions of Santiago de Compostela and one of the best preserved squares in the country.
Replacing a ninth century church, the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela was completed in 1211. Both the architecture and the interior of the Cathedral reflect a distinctly Early Romanesque style.
Plaza de las Platerías
The south doorway of the Cathedral, the Puerta de las Platerías, leads down a flight of steps into the picturesque Plaza de las Platerías, in the center of which is a handsome fountain. On the far side of the square is the Baroque Casa del Cabildo, with a regularly articulated facade. On the south front of the Cathedral, flanking the doorway, are the Torre del Tesoro (on the left), the counterpart to the Torre de la Corona on the Plaza del Obradoiro, and the 14th century Gothic Torre del Reloj (Clock-Tower), with a bell 2.5m/8ft in diameter. To the left of the doorway is the outer wall of the Cloister (by Gil de Hontañón).
Plaza de los Literários (Plaza de la Quintana)
On the east side of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral (in which is the Puerta Santa) extends the majestic Plaza de la Quintana, one of Santiago's most popular meeting-places.
Casa de los Canónigos
On the south side of the Plaza de la Quintana is the long colonnade of the Casa de los Canónigos (17th-18th C.), once the residence of the Cathedral canons.
Convento de San Pelayo
The whole of the east side of Plaza de la Quintana is occupied by the sober, almost forbidding, facade of the Convento de San Pelayo, which was given its present aspect in the 18th century. On the north side of the square a grand flight of steps leads to the Plaza de la Inmaculada on the north front of the Cathedral.
North of the Cathedral
Monasterio de San Martín Pinario
The Plaza de la Inmaculada is dominated by the former Benedictine house of San Martín, founded in 899, which is now a seminary. It has a massive pillared doorway (begun 1590) and a handsome courtyard.
Within the seminary complex is the church of San Martín, with its main front on Plaza San Martín (reached by a street on the east side of the seminary). The church (by Mateo López, 1590) has a sumptuous retablo by Fernando Casas y Novoa and Miguel de Romay and beautiful choir-stalls of 1644.
To the south of the Cathedral and the Plaza de las Platerías is the old town of Santiago, centered on two parallel streets, Rúa del Villar (with the 18th century Casa del Deán at its near end, on left) and Rúa Nueva (Galician Nova). These two arcaded streets with their bars and restaurants and souvenir shops are the hub of the town's life.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Santa María Salomé
In the Plaza del Instituto, we come to the University (late 18th C.), which was originally founded in 1532. It has a very valuable library, including important 16th century works.
Museo de Historia Natural "Luis Iglesias"
The Natural History Museum is part of the University of Compostela, located at the South Campus. The museum features exhibits on geology, botany, and zoology.
Paseo de la Herradura
On the southwest side of the old town, off the broad Alameda, is the Paseo de la Herradura, a large park-like area from which there is a fine view of the Cathedral and the town. In the park is the church of Santa Susana (begun 1105). To the south lies the University City.
Outside the Central Area
Monasterio de Santo Domingo
On the east side of the town, beyond the Puerta del Camino (a square on the site of the old gate through which pilgrims entered the town), is the 18th century monastery of Santo Domingo. One wing of the monastery houses the Museo do Pobo Gallego (Museum of the Galician People) and the Municipal Museum.
Santa María de Sar
In the Barrio de Sar, on the southeast side of the town, is the 12th century church of Santa María de Sar, the columns and walls of which are considerably off the vertical, probably because of an unstable site. It has a fine 13th century cloister, partly preserved, with rich sculptural ornament by Master Mateo.
Santa María de Sar - Museum
San Lorenzo de Transouto, San Lorenzo
In San Lorenzo, 2km/1.25mi west of Santiago de Compostela, is the early 13th century church of San Lorenzo de Transouto, with a marble altar (1525) and sculptured figures by Montañés.
The airport is located 11km south east of Santiago de Compostela
Other Sights of Interest
Casa de la Troya Museum
Museum of the Galician People
The museum explores the history of the sea, the country, the architecture, and the industry as it relates to Galicia and its people.
Museo de Colexio Médico
Galician Center of Contemporary Art
Museum of Sacred Art
Among the items on display in the museum are the original altar from St. James' tomb, a 13th C Christ figure from the old Romanesque church, a 1610 edition of the Rule of St. Benedict, as well as various works of art.
Pazo de Santa Cruz de Ribadulla
Pazo de Santa Cruz de Ribadulla is surrounded by a 400 years old avenue of ancient box hedges, olive trees and a large Phytolacca dioica. During 1880-99, a romantic garden of exotic shrubs and trees was planted that included over 200 camellia, tree ferns in a river valley and lots of specimen trees.
Museo Fundación Eugenio Granell
The Eugenio Granell Foundation was created in 1995 to display the works of Granell and other surrealist artists.
Pazo de Oca
Pazo de Oca has a magnificent manor house of 1746, joined by a gallery to a later Baroque church, has a patio-like garden around an 18th century fountain of an unusual trefoil shape. The inner garden is watered by a stream coming to rest in two large, formal pools. They are divided by a bridge in the Baroque style of Santiago and a stone boat manned by sailor in 18th century dress in the lower pool. The surrounding paths are shadowed by box trees, and a green pall of mosses and lichens. In the late 19th century, the garden included photinias, magnolias and camellias overhang the principal walks.
More Santiago de Compostela Pictures
Map of Santiago de Compostela Attractions