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Historic Center of Santiago

Route around the Romanesque, Baroque, Romantic and University buildings of Santiago

  • The Mazarelos Arch

    The Mazarelos Arch

    The last remaining gateway of the old mediaeval city walls, where wine was brought in from the Ulla and O Ribeiro areas.

  • Chapel of As Ánimas

    Chapel of As Ánimas

    Neoclassic church, designed by Ferro Caaveiro and subsequently reformed by Ventura Rodríguez. Includes sculpted groups in terracotta.

  • Casa da Parra

    Casa da Parra

    Seventeenth century building with exuberant plant designs (grapevines) carved in stone on the façade.

  • Casa do Cabido

    Casa do Cabido

    Eighteenth century Baroque design, created as a narrow façade to close off the Praterías Square.

  • Casa do Deán

    Casa do Deán

    Baroque palace from the eighteenth century. Today serves as the Pilgrims’ Welcome Centre.

  • Collegiate church of Santa María a Maior e Real de Sar

    Collegiate church of Santa María a Maior e Real de Sar

    A twelfth-century Romanesque structure. Its most imposing features are the inclined columns supporting the naves. Also includes a fine cloister.

  • Fonseca College

    Fonseca College

    A Renaissance building completed in 1532, with a beautiful covered cloister.

  • College of San Clemente

    College of San Clemente

    A Renaissance building from the early sixteenth century.

  • Convent of A Ensinanza

    Convent of A Ensinanza

    Neoclassic building from the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries.

  • Convent of As Mercedarias

    Convent of As Mercedarias

    Baroque structure from the seventeenth century. Includes fine reliefs on the façade, with a scene from the Annunciation.

  • Convento de San Domingos de Bonaval

    Convento de San Domingos de Bonaval

    Dates from the thirteen century, although most of the remaining structure is from the fourteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Now used as the Museum of the Galician People and contain the pantheon of Illustrious Galicians.

  • Convento of San Francisco

    Convento of San Francisco

    The present-day building dates from the sixteenth century, although some Gothic section remain, particulary the cloister.

  • Convent of San Paio de Antealtares

    Convent of San Paio de Antealtares

    Founded by Alfonso II after the discovery of the Apostle’s remains. The current building dates from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Contains the Museum of Religious Art.

  • Convent of Santa Clara

    Convent of Santa Clara

    Baroque building from the seventeenth century, with an eighteenth century façade.

  • Convent of Santo Agostiño

    Convent of Santo Agostiño

    Seventeenth century Baroque building. The left-hand tower was destroyed by a bolt of lightning in the eighteenth century. The right-hand tower is incomplete.

  • Hostal dos Reis Católicos

    Hostal dos Reis Católicos

    The former Royal Hospital, founded by the Catholic King and Queen in 1492. Façade in ‘Plateresque’ style from 1511. Today used as a state-run Parador hotel.

  • Church of San Bieito

    Church of San Bieito

    Founded in the tenth century and reconstructed by Xelmírez in the twelfth century. Neoclassic façade from the eighteenth century. Contains several Romanesque sculpted groups.

  • Church of San Fiz de Solovio

    Church of San Fiz de Solovio

    On the site of where the hermit Paio once lived, who alerted the Bishop Teodomiro to the presence of the Apostle’s tomb. The current church dates from the eighteenth century, with a thirteenth-century Romanesque portal.

  • Church of Santa María do Camiño

    Church of Santa María do Camiño

    Seventeenth-century structure over a previous Romanesque church. Contains the Virgin of Belén.

  • Church of Santa María Salomé

    Church of Santa María Salomé

    Contains an impressive combination of styles: a Romanesque portal, sixteenth-century porch, Baroque exterior and eighteenth-century belltower.

  • Mercado de Abastos

    Mercado de Abastos

    Market built in 1937 with nine stone naves in three main structures. Sells home-produced vegetables, meat and freshly caught fish.

  • Convent of San Martiño Pinario

    Convent of San Martiño Pinario

    Former Benedictine convent, the largest in Galicia. Enormous building  onstructed between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries.

  • Pazo de Bendaña

    Pazo de Bendaña

    One of the large urban mansions found in Santiago, built in the eighteenth century.

  • Pazo de Raxoi

    Pazo de Raxoi

    A neoclassic building from the late eighteenth century. Contains the town hall and the central offices of the Xunta, Galicia’s regional government.

  • Pazo de San Xerome

    Pazo de San Xerome

    Includes a magnificent fifteenth century portal. Contains the Dean’s Office of the university.

  • Pazo de Xelmírez

    Pazo de Xelmírez

    Twelfth century civil building in Romanesque style, one of the few remaining examples in Spain.

  • Modern University

    Modern University

    Eighteenth-century building with additional structure added in the nineteenth century. Currently contains the Faculty of Geography and History.

We start our route from the Park of San Domingos de Bonaval, a former farm and cemetery belonging to a Dominican convent. It offers surprising views to the east, over the roofs of the monumental zone. Next to the park is the Pantheon of Illustrious Galicians (with the tombs of Rosalía de Castro, Brañas, Astorey, Cabanillas, Fontán and Castelao), and the Ethnographic Museum of the Galician People, which includes an exceptional Baroque spiral staircase. Next to these buildings is the Galician Centre of Contemporary Art, by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza.

We continue along Valle Inclán Street, until reaching San Roque Street, site of the old Baroque Hospital, with a beautiful porch and cloister, next to the old Porta da Pena, through where we enter the old town. We then walk down Algalia de Arriba Street, which once contained most of the student residences until well into the twentieth century. On reaching number 27 we find a thirteenthcentury Gothic tower on four floors with a majestic air, which includes decorative elements in some of its windows. We then turn left into the alleyway known as the Calella dos Truques, and then onto Algalia de Abaixo Street, an area with a lively nightlife together with the neighbouring streets. At number 29 we find the oldest house in the whole city, dating from the eleventh or twelfth century, a fine example of mediaeval architecture with overhanging floors. In front of it is the Baroque Amarante mansion. We are now traversing the most traditional part of Compostela: Entremuros, Oliveira Street and the Irmáns Gómez Square, finally arriving at the doors of the church of Santo Agostiño, missing a tower that was demolished by lightning in the eighteenth century.

Next to it is the City’s Marketplace, vibrant and full of typical local products well worth a visit, particularly on Thursdays and Saturdays. Here is where farmers from the surrounding areas bring the items they cultivate and produce. It also sells the freshest fish and magnificent meat and fruits. Alongside the market is the church of San Fiz de Solovio, with a glorious Romanesque portal, where the hermit lived who discovered the Apostle’s tomb. In front is the building of the Literary University today the Geography and History faculty. Walking around it we reach the Mazarelos Square, which contains the only remaining gateway of the old city walls, where wine was brought in to the city. Crossing through the arch we reach the streets of Patio de Madres and Castrón Douro, and then on to the traditional neighbourhood of Sar to visit the Collegiate Church of Santa María de Sar, a Romanesque church with a thirteenth-century cloister. It features surprising walls and inclined pillars that support the naves, strengthened from the outside by solid buttresses. We return through the streets of Camiño da Ameixaga and Andújar, offering an extensive panorama over the old town, to then reach the Baroque convent of Belvís and the park of the same name, a large open space next to the monumental zone, which includes a number of allotments.

We then walk up the alleyway of A Tafona, which leads to the street of Virxe da Cerca, close to the Porta do Camiño, where pilgrims enter the city from the French Way, which continues within the old town along the street of Casas Reais or ‘Royal Houses’, which received this name after Juana the Mad and Felipe the Handsome spent a night there in 1512. Other interesting features in this street are the neoclassic church of As Ánimas and the eighteenth-century Fondevila mansion, which today contains the offices of the Social Foundation of Caja Madrid. We then enter Cervantes Square, with the neoclassic church of  San Benito and two Baroque mansions, one of which once contained the Town Hall. We then take the lane known as the Calella de Xerusalén and come out into the Square of San Martiño Pinario, with the magnificent façade of the convent of the same name, next to which is a magnificent Baroque twin staircase. We then continue along Moeda Vella Street and then arrive at the Inmaculada Square, containing the main façade of the convent, the largest in Galicia, and northern façade of the Cathedral, in neoclassic style. From here we enter the Quintana Square, which contains the Holy Door. Its staircase is perfect for a rest and to observe the busy to and fro of the city.

We enter the cathedral through the façade in the Praterías Square, with the fountain of Os Cabalos and the twelfth century doorway, and inside discover the Romanesque splendour of its naves and ambulatory. We may then visit the Apostle’s crypt, embrace the saint under the central canopy, and then visit the different chapels. Before leaving the cathedral we should visit the majestic doorway of the Pórtico da Gloria and then walk down the steps into the Obradoiro Square. This contains a number of architectural wonderes, such as the Royal Hospital (today the Parador hotel known as the Hostal dos Reis Católicos) in ‘Plateresque’ style; the neoclassic Raxoi Palace, with a hint of Versailles in its design, shared by the local council and the regional government or Xunta; the mansion of San Xerome, with a fifteenth century doorway, today the rector’s offices of the university of Santiago de Compostela; and the Baroque façade of the cathedral itself, designed by Fernando de Casas.

We then leave the square and head towards the Alameda park, along Fonseca and Rodrigo de Padrón streets, where we end our route. This is the best spot in the city to photograph the cathedral and the old town, from the walkway known as the Paseo dos Leóns, and further on an excellent panorama of the university campus, built in the 1930’s, from the lookout point in the Paseo da Ferradura.

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