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Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela: Santiago de Compostela is the highlight of the pilgrim route Way of St. James way, El Camino de Santiago, in northern Spain. Tradition history and religion can be clearly appreciated in the wide cultural heritage of Santiago de Compostela where the pilgrims travelling St. James Way finally arrive.

Santiago de Compostela is Galicia's showcase. Santiago de Compostela is the Capital city of the Autonomous Region, it is both a traditional and a modern city. The tradition can be clearly appreciated in the cultural heritage in Santiago de Compostela, matched by few Spanish cities and which earned its designation as World Heritage by UNESCO in 1985, and in its association with the surrounding rural environment, allowing it to be defined, even today, as the most rural of all Galicia's cities.

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Main features of Santiago's old quarter are the Praza del Obradoiro, surrounded by buildings steeped in art and history, such as the cathedral, the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos, the University of Santiago Rectory and the City Council Building. Medieval in structure with additions from later periods, Santiago's old quarter consists of a network of streets, alleys and squares, dotted with monuments and making an extremely interesting visit. Key sights are the Plazas of A Quintana, O Toural, Azabachería, Cervantes and, among others, Calles Villar, Rúa Nova, Preguntoiro or Xelmire.


Way of St. James - Camino de Santiago: The discovery of the remains of Saint James, the Apostle Santiago around 820 marked the beginning of the pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela, creating the Way of St. James, El Camino de Santiago. King Alfonso II, the Chaste, ordered the construction of a small church on the site of the discovery and the news spread among the community of believers and the Christian kingdoms of the western world. This was the start of the pilgrimages and the worship of St. James in Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.

The wave of pilgrims increased day by day. This current led to religious, cultural and economic ties that have woven a network based on the pilgrimage, deeply spiritual in nature, which is renowned for the cultural heritage it has brought to the west. The first pilgrims arrived in the budding metropolis of Santiago. The Way of St. James, also known as the Way of the Stars, was beginning to take shape, becoming firmly rooted in the XI:th and XII:th centuries with the granting of spiritual indulgences. These indulgences reached a high point during the so-called Holy Years of Santiago de Compostela.

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Festivals and fiestas in Galicia in North Spain: Village festivals that have received the distinction of being of Tourist Interest are events that are known for their display of cultural values and attention to popular tradition, with special regard for ethnological features and are valued as a tourist attraction. Among the factors considered are the number of years the fiesta has been celebrated, its continuity over time, and the originality and diversity of its programme of activities.

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Just imagine how the medieval pilgrims felt when they topped the crest of what came to be known as the Mountain of Joy and caught their first glimpse of Santiago de Compostela and its cathedral, the shrine of Saint James (Santiago). It was the reward for a pilgrimage that entailed months of hardship. Over the last thousand years, this path has been trodden by millions. And they still come, motivated by faith, adventure or curiosity. Most make straight for the Plaza del Obradoiro, a space built on a larger-than-life scale, as if to imbue the new arrival with a proper sense of humility. Before him rises the Baroque façade of the cathedral, while to one side stands the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos, a hospice built in the 16th century to give shelter to the pilgrims. Today, as a luxurious hotel, it continues to provide comfortable lodgings to weary travelers. The dominant theme in this World Heritage City is granite, broken by splashes of ochre-coloured lichen, and the place would appear rather funereal, it is, after all, a city built around a grave, were it not for that other, human ingredient in the mix, accounted for not only by its numerous visitors but by the fact that Santiago is a university town, whose students ensure that evenings in this city are lively affairs, in which music, conversation and great food, especially shellfish from the Galician coast figure prominently.


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