Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

In 1075 AD ground was broken for the Cathedral that was eventually completed in 1211 AD.  The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the burial place of St. James the Greater, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, and therefore it was the destination of the Way of St. James.

The structure is Romanesque with later Gothic and Baroque additions.  A University was added in 1495 AD.

Exterior of the Cathedral:




Interior and various altars:






The crypt of Saint James holds the relics of the Saint and is located in a substructure of the 9th Century church which was the final destination of pilgrims in medieval times.  The relics of Saint James rest in a silver reliquary with two of his disciples, St. Theodorus and St. Athanasius.


The Botafumerio, the famous Thurible and the largest in the world operated on a pulley mechanism, dispenses clouds of incense throughout the Cathedral.  Eight red-robed tiraboleira pull the ropes and bring it into motion.


In the middles ages, the Botafumerio assisted in masking the stench emanating from hundreds of unwashed pilgrims.





After kneeling at the relics of St. James, the custom is to ascend the stairs behind the giant statue of St. James, and hug it while whispering to him the purpose of your Camino.


Once completed, your Camino has ended.

Categories: General | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

  1. John Kelly

    Jim – I just found out about your amazing journey. I am humbled and inspired by your accomplishment. Congratulations!


    John Kelly

    • What a wonderful surprise John! Thank you for taking the time to comment! It was quite a journey. I’m in Madrid for the night and will fly home tomorrow. Hope you are well.

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