Top Thing to do in Santiago de Compostela

Catedral de Santiago de Compostela & Plaza de Obradoiro:

top things to do in santiago de compostela cathedral and Plaza del Obradoiro
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral and Plaza del Obradoiro

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is considered to be the most sacred Christian monument in the country. The Cathedral is majestically located in the Plaza del Obradoiro and the towers soar high above the town. It is an early example of Romanesque architecture, since the building had been constructed between the years of 1075 and 1211. The Cathedral has gone through numerous renovations which have altered the styles from Gothic, Plateresque to Neoclassical. The Obradoiro Façade which faces the square lavishly boasts of Spanish Baroque style. After you have seen the prime attraction of the square, you would notice that the area around is itself an attraction. There are many more monuments to spot out, as you consume some traditional tapas in a café.

Casco Historico (Old Town):

The atmospheric Old Town of Santiago is listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the middle, it has two parallel streets of Rúa Nueva and Rúa del Villar, along with 18th-century Casa del Deán towards the end. The two arcaded streets are the hub of city life. They are filled with cafes, restaurants and boutiques. The pedestrian streets are enjoyable to walk through. Much of Casco Antiguo and the region around the cathedral are closed to traffic, which is why it is best to walk through the sites and experience the old ambiance a little more dearly. The south of the cathedral opens up to the Plaza de las Platerías, where you can see a little more of city life and buy some souvenirs.

Botafumeiro:

This is one of the most spectacular symbols of the Cathedral. It is an enormous thurible which hangs with the help of the pulleys led down from the main done. It also makes it swing towards the naves. At least 8 men are needed to move it, although it weighs around 53 kg. The 1.50 meter object hangs from the height of about 20 meters. It is used for liturgical reasons just like a priest uses censer at an altar. It is used during the main solemnities of the Cathedral only. The purpose of the censer symbolizes the real attitude of the believer and that is judged by the way the smoke rises up to the temple’s naves. This is considered to determine the prayers reaching to the heart of God. The aroma of incense makes the entire basilica smell.

Hostal de los Reyes Católicos:

This was a pilgrims’ hostel which boasts of splendid Gothic Plateresque architecture, along with decorative facade and pretty interior courtyards. In 1499, the Catholic Monarchs had created a pretty place to lodge the tired pilgrims who had been traveling far and wide through the Way of Saint James. It is quite obvious that the travelers loved reaching this beautiful destination after their tiring journey. The historic building has been renovated and converted into a lavish Parador hotel. Guests residing here get comfortable rooms and the best of Galician cuisine. There is also a chapel inside the premises and adds more life to the site.

Monasterio de San Martín Pinario (Monastery of San Martín Pinario):

The  monastery of San Martín Pinario covers an area of 20,000 square meters, and that makes it the second largest religious monument in this region, after the Cathedral. The main façade had been made in Baroque style and is about 100 meters long. You will awe at the 12th century old church and then take a look at the recent one, which was built 5 centuries later. It records an outstanding 16th century Plateresque façade which attracts visitor’s eyes. The creation of this part is very significant since three of the best architects had joined hands to get this done. The main highlight that you’d want to see carefully will surely be the enormous half-barrel vault.

Parque de la Alameda (Alameda Park):

This happens to be the spot to give you the most admired viewpoint of the city. It is situated in Alameda Park and on the eastern slope of Santa Susana hill. As you get there, you get a lovely frontal view of the Cathedral. It rises up majestically over the mass of old buildings and is loved as a photographing area. This viewpoint can give you lovely views at any time of the day. The nighttime views will explain why the Cathedral is referred to the spiritual ‘beacon’.

Museo Catedralicio (Cathedral Museum):

This museum is situated within the Cathedral of Santiago itself. It includes various archaeological works which belongs to the city. It had been built in 1930 and the most treasured part it has to offer, is the Apostle’s Tomb. The museum reflects the history of the Sanctuary and the tomb has been placed right here. Current, the museum spreads over 4 floors, which includes the famed 16th century Gothic cloister. This also includes the Maestro Mateo’s carved stoned choir, religious arts like Botafumeiros, old sala capitular decorated in 16th century, Panteon de Reyes, etc.

Cathedral Roof tours:

The rooftop tour will make you appreciate the magnitude of the cathedral. If you take out about 1 hour for the rooftop, you will contribute to the restoration of the cathedral with the ticket you purchase! From here, you get the bird’s eye view of city squares. It is known to increase your admiration towards appreciating the centuries of human effort.

Museo de Pobo Galego (Museum of the Galician People):

This museum is situated in the 18th century Convent of San Domingo de Bonaval. It exhibits wide range of Galician folk culture through the history of fishing, farming, traditional costumes, houses, musical instruments and Galician pre-history. The most important highlight here is the triple spiral staircase, made by Domingo de Andrade. It links the cloister with different floors of the building. You must also get to the convent church which holds temporary exhibitions occasionally. The church includes Pantheon of Famous Galicians who reflected the Galician culture.

Museo de las Peregrinaciones (Museum of Pilgrimage):

This museum had been divided into three floors and was made in honor of Saint James. It is a mono-graphic museum which that highlights the importance of Santiago culture and development. It had been ever developing from the Middle Ages and the pilgrimage routes to the Apostle’s tomb. There are 8 rooms which include images, objects and documents and these will all be illustrated to you by a local guide. You will be told about the Jacobean cult, and how the pilgrimages initiated and evolved over time. Here, you will also know the gradual configuration of different roads, which informs you about how the city was crafted.

Convento de San Francisco (Convent of San Francisco):

Once, the church of San Francisco was the symbol of Santiago. This is because the image featured paintings and illustration of the capital. Even at present, as the skyscrapers and vineyards replaces the the old church by becoming newer attractions, it would still be difficult to dissociate their hometown from the most iconic landmark of Santiago. Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco leaves a special mark, since it is the oldest construction in the city. It is also considered a fine vestige of Chile’s colonial past.

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