The Cathedral of Santiago

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the reputed burial place of St James the Great. In 9C a chapel was built over his grave, and then a church, which was destroyed by Al-Mansur in the 10C. Today’s building dates from the 11C.

The exterior of the Cathedral

The West Front of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is perhaps the most immediately familiar image, but the building is currently under wraps. This West front dates from 1740 and overlooks Obradoiro Square.

Cathedral of Santiago, West Front (Wikipedia)
Cathedral of Santiago, West Front (Wikipedia)
Cathedral of Santiago, West Front
West front of the Cathedral of Santiago

The Cathedral and its bell towers originate in the 11C, but the towers were increased in height or embellished as time passed. The Clock Tower overlooking the Praza de Pratarias illustrates this continued work.

Torre de la Trinidad, 1680,
Torre de la Trinidad, the Clock Tower

Inside the Cathedral of Santiago

The interior of the Cathedral is breathtaking – literally so. As you stand in the nave and look towards the high altar rich Baroque carvings are all round you. The soft lighting enhances the gold decoration and there is a scent of incense in the air.

The Nave, Santiago Cathedral
The nave
The Cathedral of Santiago
The altar
Baroque carvings in the Cathedral
Baroque decoration in the cathedral
Cathedral of Santiago
In the Cathedral of Santiago

The ornate decoration and carving is everywhere, even in the Chapels which glowed in the soft light.

Cathedral of Santiago
One of the Chapels in the Cathedral

And then there is the organ…

The organ in the Cathedral
The organ in the cathedral

The Cloisters of the Cathedral

The Cathedral Museum is fascinating and includes models of the cathedral, reconstruction of cloisters, and beautiful tapestries. When you visit the Museum you can also access the Cloisters of 1533 which are quietly grand. I pictured the Cloister – from the inside – it was pouring with rain! (Spanish museums usually forbid photography so I have no other photographs.)

The Cloister of the Cathedral
The Cloister of the Cathedral

I loved the atmosphere of the Cathedral and returned on my own, with the camera, more than once.

Further information
3D representation of the Cathedral
Santiago, including the Cathedral
The Cathedral and here and here