Santiago de Compostela is one of the most important pilgrimage centers in Europe. To the sanctuary of St. James, pilgrimage routes across the continent have been leading since the Middle Ages.
The capital of Galicia became the center of the cult of St. James the Elder already in the first centuries of our era. According to the legend, the body of the apostle was brought here by boat and buried in the place where the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela stands today. The first records of pilgrimages date back to the 9th century, and 200 years later, up to a million pilgrims traveled on pilgrimage routes to Santiago each year. This put the city in the third place after Rome and Jerusalem among the Christian centers of the world.
Today, several dozen Camino de Santiago routes run across Europe. They are of different length and degree of difficulty. Pilgrims overcome them in a few or a dozen days, and sometimes for many months. However, everyone finally stands on the Obradoiro Square, where the cathedral rises. In the square you can also see the neoclassical Raxoi Palace and the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos, with the royal chapel in it. The hostal was the place where the rulers who made pilgrimages to the tomb of St. Jacob.
The cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is one of the most important religious buildings in Spain. Its construction began in the 9th century, and it owes its present appearance to later reconstructions. The Baroque façade conceals a Romanesque-Gothic interior decorated with splendor with numerous 17th-century altars and sculptures. In the Santiago Cathedral Museum, you can see relics from the earliest cathedral here and a collection of religious art.