La Compostela is a document drawn up in Latin, which Santiago Cathedral Chapter grants to those who follow the Apostle’s route pietatis causa.
On foot (having covered about 100 km), on horseback, by bicycie (at least 200 km) or by sea. In both cases, the pilgrim must demonstrate his or her journey with the stamps of the town councils or local parishes along the route, if they have arrived in Santiago by land; or in the maritime hostels to be found at different points along the Galician coast.
There are two conditions for obtaining the maritime Compostela: cover at least forty nautical miles by salling or motor-boat, from the port of departure to Pontecesures port in the Ría of Arousa-Ulla, justifying it with the stamped credentials; and secondly, make the journey on foot from Pontecesures to Catedral de Santiago.
The age of this document goes back to the 14th century. The one granted to the French pilgrim Yves Le Breton, on the 1st May, 1321, is still kept in the “Pas de Calais Archives”. Also, in “Zoendic bonc de Gantes”, the Flemish pilgrim Guillermo van de Putte was granted La Compostela on the 13th Septem ber, 1354; and the Arxiu Museum in Barcelona keeps the one given to Bartolomeu Montels de Cordedeu. datedthe 24th August, 1535.
Pilgrim's Welcoming Card
In those cases where the conditions for obtaining La Compostela are not fulfilled, the Cathedral Chapter usually grants this Welcoming Card as a gesture of warmth and hospitality.