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Things to do in Santiago de Compostela
Photo by Jo Kassis: Top Things to do in Santiago de Compostela

The historic town of Santiago de Compostela consists of numerous places to visit which are among the top things to do in Santiago de Compostela. The historic town is home to many architecture styles as well.

The historic town is located in the north-western part of Spain. The history of the town has wars, and beautiful historic architecture in its cityscape. The city was destroyed by Muslims in the 10th century because of the Spanish Christian’s struggle against the religion. Despite this, the city was built in the following century. The architecture of the city has buildings designed in Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architecture.

The oldest monuments in the city are around the St. James tomb and the cathedral. The area contains a remarkable Portico de la Gloria. Due to its rich history and architecture, the old town has been classified UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The cathedral of the city marks the borders of the main central plaza of the old city. The city is well-preserved and is known for a good nightlife. The city has mixed demographics as there are people from middle age and young age.

The city has a tropical climate and is known for dry summers and mild, wet winters. The city is known to have very less snowy days and the highest rainfall in the city is recorded to be 1800 mm annually.

Top Things to do Santiago de la Compostela

The UNESCO world heritage city, Santiago de la Compostela is known to have rich architecture varying from churches, monasteries and stately squares. The city is known to be one of the most important Catholic destinations in Spain.

Camino de Santiago

Things to do in Santiago de Compostela
Photo by Zally: Top things to do in Santiago de Compostela

The Camino de Santiago is a network of pilgrimages as there are shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great which is located in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The way of St. James was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during the middle ages.

The route to the pilgrim is Camino Frances which stretches for over 780 kilometres from St. Jean Pied du Port to Santiago. The French routes include a routes from Ruta de Tunel from Irun, Camino Primitivo from Bilbao and Oviedo.

As the origins of the pilgrimage is defined by the then Roman routes and have alot of hospitals in addition to churches, monasteries, abbeys and towns. The routes were destroyed in the 14th century due to the wars and the recovery began at the end of 19th century.

Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela

Top things to do in Santiago de Compostela
Photo by Jo Kassis: Things to do in Santiago de Compostela

The Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela is also known as the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela and is an integral part of the Heritage site of the city. The cathedral is a reputed burial place of Saint James the Great and is one of the churches in the world which is built over a tomb of an apostle.

The basilica is known to be a part of the pilgrimage route of St. James. The building is known to have a Romanesque style of architecture and addition were later made in the Gothic an Baroque styles of architecture.

Each of the facades of the cathedral has adjoining squares constitutes a large urban square. The facade was designed in Baroque style of architecture of the square. The sculptures on the facade depict the Romanesque style of architecture.

Portico de la Gloria

The Portico de la Gloria or the Portico of Glory is a Romanesque portico and is the cathedral’s main gate created by Master Mateo. The Portico de la Gloria consists of an inner double arched porch and has lateral archivolts which were undecorated. The Romanesque architecture is placed in the interior and is enclosed in Baroque style of architecture.

There are three large arches which are decorated with angels and foliage. There are two types of paintings which are distinguished on the structure. The figures on the facade has powdery and colours used are light, soft and clear without additional ornaments.

Praza do Obradoiro

Top things to do in Santiago de Compostela
Photo by Victoriano Izquierdo on Unsplash: Things to do in Santiago de Compostela

Praza de Obradoiro is a Square of Workshop and is one of the main squares of Santiago de Compostela. The square is not placed in the centre of the town but lies to the West of the main facade of the Santiago de Compostela cathedral. The square is surrounded with the important buildings of the city.

The square determines the 1000 year history of the city and displays different architectural styles such as the Baroque style and Romanesque style of architecture. The construction of the buildings have took more than 700 years and the towers have a height of 74 metres.

Casco Historico

 things to do in Santiago de Compostela
Photo by Jo Kassis: Top things to do in Santiago de Compostela

Historic Quarter or the Casco Historico, the space dates back to the 11th century and was delimited by a wall. The monuments in the quarter are present and can be visited. The historic centre is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site and has some well established institutions, museums, and other historic establishments.

This village has been a very important part of the city and is surrounded with a archaeological remains today. The city grew from the historical basilica which marks the centre of the city.

Monastery of San Martino Pinario

The monastery of San Martino Pinario is a Benedictine monastery which remains one of the original medieval buildings in the city. The monastery was largely built in the sixteenth century and was closed in the nineteenth century.

The facade of the building has an altarpiece structure which shows the figures of the Virgin and Child. The eternal father chairs the triangular pediment. The main facade is oriented to the south and consists of front gardens. The facade was designed by Gabriel de les Cases and the unique feature of the design includes the Doric columns supporting the entablature with pinnacles.

The church was completed in the year 1652 and the gates open to the square with the same name as the monastery. The plan of the church is interesting as there is a single nave which is covered with a barrel vault with lacunar false. There are six sided chapels which open onto the nave has a similar dome structure. The crossing is depicted in the nave and the building displays the religious art.

Parque de la Alameda

 things to do in Santiago de Compostela
Photo by Pelayo Arbués on Unsplash: Top things to do in Santiago de Compostela

Parque de la Alameda is a large grassy areas and consists of wide variety of trees such as horse chestnuts, oaks, eucalyptus trees, cypresses and palm trees. The central avenue is gas lit and illustrates the 19th century depiction of the 19th century. There are many flower beds, ponds, sculptures and fountains. The views to the Cathedral are beautiful and among the top things to do in Santiago de Compostela.

Plaza da Quintana

Top things to do in Santiago de Compostela
Photo by Samu Lopez on Unsplash: Things to do in Santiago de Compostela

Plaza da Quintana also the Quintana square is formed as a confluence of the south facade of the cathedral, the Parra House, the Convent of San Paio de Antealtares and the Conga house.

The characteristics of the square includes the steps and is a 16th century space. The space was widely used in public events of vindictive nature, fun and popular concerts. The building has a burial ground at the lower edge which was formed by the end of the 18th century.

The vertical element in the square is the Cathedral’s clock tower and is known as the Berenguela and was constructed in the 14th century. The square displays Baroque style of architecture and is surrounded by the largest Cathedral bell.

Mercado de Abastos

Top Things to do in Santiago de Compostela
Photo by Yeung Gento Tochtli: Things to do in Santiago de Compostela

The beautiful market in the city of Santiago de Compostela is one of the oldest markets in Spain as it has been located in the current locations for 300 years. The building dates back to the year 1941 and was designed in a way which matches the city’s architecture and the facade of the church.

The long arches and window are the distinct feature. There are permanent stalls setup in the arches facing the central aisles. Cheese, cured meat and fish, other seafood items fresh from the Atlantic are sold here. The temporary stalls are setup in the entrance which sell fruits and vegetables.

Colegiata de Santa María del Sar

The colegiata de Santa Maria del Sar is located on the banks of Sar river and is a catholic church which is designed in Romanesque architecture in the 1895. The building was approved by UNESCO as one of the heritage sites of the city.

The building was originally designed to serve as a purpose of retirement home and the floor plan was designed with three naves and are separated by compound pillars covered by the barrel vault.


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