Holy Sepulchre!

July 18, 2009 at 2:47 am 2 comments

Santiago de Compostela is coined as being ‘the most beautiful city in Spain’.

Big call.

We were sceptical but hopeful, and luck was on our side! The entire place is a maze of medieval laneways and amazing religious relics or monuments at every turn. The place is saturated with them!..

Ornate embellishments inside the Catedral

Ornate embellishments inside the Catedral

Laneway by lantern light

Laneway by lantern light


Also, our hostal was a gorgeous little apartment with twin balconies over a stunning medieval laneway! Run by the cutest old couple who spoke nothing but Spanish.  LOVE.

Our hostal sign

Our hostal sign

View from room balcony over medieval laneway

View from room balcony over medieval laneway

Ok, so the story behind Santiago:

–        The remains of St. James the apostle of Jesus was discovered here over 1000 years ago

–        A city was built around the crypt

–        Pilgrims have been making the journey here, to the very West coast of Spain (in the middle of nowhere!) since then

–        It’s the 3rd most important religious sepulchre site outside of Jerusalem and the Vatican

–        It has the highest concentration of artwork per square metre in Spain (or Europe?)

I didn’t know most of this til after we’d left – good one being an ignorant ‘oh that’s so pretty!’ tourist Ange!

Humbling? Definitely. Even without knowing the complete history or significance, the mood captured in the architecture of the main Catedral is amazing. The dedication over centuries behind building a city full of these religious relics is awesome.

Catedral de Santiago de Compostela

Catedral de Santiago de Compostela

The whole place is full of pilgrims, which is awesome. Young to old, equipped with their hiking gear, backpacks and walking sticks. They have to walk a minimum of 100km – the whole Camina (road) to Santiago is like 400km long! The mood is holy but festive, with music and good food aplenty.  Had amazing muscles in vinegar here 🙂

Muscles in vinegar, chorizo in red wine, tuna salad - YUM!

Muscles in vinegar, chorizo in red wine, tuna salad - YUM!

Personally I enjoyed seeing these young pilgrims, unshaven for weeks and evidently road-weary, laying on the stones in front of the mighty Catedral, chilling with their beers.

Chilling pilgrims

That, and the old ladies and old men running an early morning market against ancient church walls.

Morning market

Morning market fruit & veg

Many more details, but I wouldn’t do it justice. Look up the place if you like.




Entry filed under: Architecture, People. Tags: , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Andrew Petcher  |  July 19, 2009 at 8:20 am

    So is it the best city in Spain? I certainly think that it is one of the best. I went there last year and liked it so much went straight back again for a second visit.

    • 2. anqi0310  |  July 28, 2009 at 11:30 am

      “Best” is so hard to classify! It definitely is amazingly religiously significant, and absolutely gorgeous. I will definitely go back at some stage! Granada is another place I feel I haven’t done justice. I will be revisiting for sure (I only had about 12hrs there!)


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