Santiago de Compostela
City and Municipality
Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Location of the municipality of Santiago de Compostela within Galicia
|• Body||Council of Santiago|
|• Mayor||Xosé Sánchez (PSOE)|
|• Total||220 km2 (80 sq mi)|
|Elevation||260 m (850 ft)|
|• Density||440/km2 (1,100/sq mi)|
santiagués, -guesa (gl / es)
compostelán, -á (gl)
compostelano, -na (es)
|Time zone||CET (GMT +1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (GMT +2)|
Santiago de Compostela [ citation needed ] in English) is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, in northwestern Spain. The city has its origin in the shrine of Saint James the Great, now the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, as the destination of the Way of St. James, a leading Catholic pilgrimage route since the 9th century. In 1985, the city's Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.(or Saint James of Compostella
Santiago is the local Galician evolution of Vulgar Latin Sanctus Iacobus "Saint James". According to legend, Compostela derives from the Latin Campus Stellae (i.e., "field of the star"); it seems unlikely, however, that this phrase could have yielded the modern Compostela under normal evolution from Latin to Medieval Galician.
Other etymologies derive the name from Latin compositum, local Vulgar Latin Composita Tella, meaning "burial ground", or simply from Latin compositella, meaning "the well-composed one". Other sites in Galicia share this toponym, akin to Compostilla in the province of León.
The cathedral borders the main plaza of the old and well-preserved city. According to medieval legend, the remains of the apostle James were brought to Galicia for burial; in 813, the light of a bright star guided a shepherd who was watching his flock at night to the burial site in Santiago de Compostela. [ citation needed ] The shepherd quickly reported his discovery to the bishop of Iria, Bishop Teodomiro. The bishop declared that the remains were those of the apostle James and immediately notified King Alfonso II in Oviedo. To honour St. James, the cathedral was built on the spot where his remains were said to have been found. The legend, which included numerous miraculous events, enabled the Catholic faithful to bolster support for their stronghold in northern Spain during the Christian crusades against the Moors, but also led to the growth and development of the city.This site was originally called Mount Libredon and its physical topography leads prevalent sea borne winds to clear the cloud deck immediately overhead.
Along the western side of the Praza do Obradoiro is the elegant 18th-century Pazo de Raxoi, now the city hall. Across the square is the Pazo de Raxoi (Raxoi's Palace), the town hall, and on the right from the cathedral steps is the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, founded in 1492 by the Catholic Monarchs, Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand II of Aragon, as a pilgrims' hospice (now a parador). The Obradoiro façade of the cathedral, the best known, is depicted on the Spanish euro coins of 1 cent, 2 cents, and 5 cents (€0.01, €0.02, and €0.05).
Santiago is the site of the University of Santiago de Compostela, established in the early 16th century. The main campus can be seen best from an alcove in the large municipal park in the centre of the city.
Within the old town there are many narrow winding streets full of historic buildings. The new town all around it has less character though some of the older parts of the new town have some big flats in them.
Santiago de Compostela has a substantial nightlife. Both in the new town (a zona nova in Galician, la zona nueva in Spanish or ensanche) and the old town (a zona vella in Galician or la zona vieja in Spanish, trade-branded as zona monumental), a mix of middle-aged residents and younger students maintain a lively presence until the early hours of the morning. Radiating from the centre of the city, the historic cathedral is surrounded by paved granite streets, tucked away in the old town, and separated from the newer part of the city by the largest of many parks throughout the city, Parque da Alameda.
Santiago gives its name to one of the four military orders of Spain: Santiago, Calatrava, Alcántara and Montesa.
One of the most important economic centres in Galicia, Santiago is the seat for organisations like Association for Equal and Fair Trade Pangaea.
Under the Köppen climate classification, Santiago de Compostela has a temperate oceanic (Cfb) climate, with mild to warm and somewhat dry summers and mild, wet winters. The prevailing winds from the Atlantic and the surrounding mountains combine to give Santiago some of Spain's highest rainfall: about 1,550 millimetres (61.0 in) annually. The climate is mild: frosts are common only in December, January and February, with an average of just 8 days per year, while snow is rare; temperatures over 30 °C (86 °F) are exceptional.
|Climate data for Santiago de Compostela (1981–2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||20.3|
|Average high °C (°F)||11.2|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||7.7|
|Average low °C (°F)||4.1|
|Record low °C (°F)||−7.0|
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||210|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||15.2||12.6||12.8||14.4||12.7||7.6||5.7||5.5||8.4||14.0||14.9||15.9||139.5|
|Average snowy days||1.0||0.7||0.2||0.3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.1||0.3||2.7|
|Average relative humidity (%)||84||79||75||76||76||74||74||74||75||82||86||85||78|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||93||114||151||165||187||225||243||237||184||132||95||85||1,911|
|Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
The Obradoiro façade of the grand Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
|Criteria||Cultural: i, ii, vi|
|Inscription||1985 (9th session)|
|Buffer zone||216.88 ha|
The city is governed by a mayor–council form of government. Following the May 24, 2015 municipal elections the mayor of Santiago is Martiño Noriega Sánchez of Compostela Aberta (CA).No party has a majority in the city council (concello).
|Compostela Aberta (CA)||16,327||34.58||10|
|People's Party (PP)||15,869||33.61||9|
|Socialists' Party of Galicia-Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSdeG-PSOE)||6,919||14.65||4|
|Galician Nationalist Bloc-Open Assemblies (BNG)||3,277||6.94||2|
|Commitment to Galicia-Transparent Municipalities (CxG-CCTT)||1,112||2.35||New||0||±0|
|Solidarity and Internationalist Self-management (SAIn)||301||0.64||0||±0|
|Converxencia XXI (C21)||139||0.29||0||±0|
|Votes cast / turnout||47,958||61.13|
|Source: Ministry of the Interior|
The population of the city in 2019 was 96,260 inhabitants, while the metropolitan area reaches 178,695.
In 2010 there were 4,111 foreigners living in the city, representing 4.3% of the total population. The main nationalities are Brazilians (11%), Portuguese (8%) and Colombians (7%).
By language, according to 2008 data, 21.17% of the population always speak in Galician, 15% always speak in Spanish, 31% mostly in Galician and the 32.17% mostly in Spanish.According to a Xunta de Galicia 2010 study the 38.5% of the city primary and secondary education students had Galician as their mother tongue.
The area of Santiago de Compostela was a Roman cemetery by the 4th centuryand was occupied by the Suebi in the early 5th century, when they settled in Galicia and Portugal during the initial collapse of the Roman Empire. The area was later attributed to the bishopric of Iria Flavia in the 6th century, in the partition usually known as Parochiale Suevorum, ordered by King Theodemar. In 585, the settlement was annexed along with the rest of Suebi Kingdom by Leovigild as the sixth province of the Visigothic Kingdom.
Possibly raided from 711 to 739 by the Arabs,the bishopric of Iria was incorporated into the Kingdom of Asturias c. 750. At some point between 818 and 842, during the reign of Alfonso II of Asturias, bishop Theodemar of Iria (d. 847) claimed to have found some remains which were attributed to Saint James the Greater. This discovery was accepted in part because the Leo III and Charlemagne—who had died in 814—had acknowledged Asturias as a kingdom and Alfonso II as king, and had also crafted close political and ecclesiastic ties. Around the place of the discovery a new settlement and centre of pilgrimage emerged, which was known to the author Usuard in 865 and which was called Compostella by the 10th century.
The cult of Saint James of Compostela was just one of many arising throughout northern Iberia during the 10th and 11th centuries, as rulers encouraged their own region-specific cults, such as Saint Eulalia in Oviedo and Saint Aemilian in Castile.After the centre of Asturian political power moved from Oviedo to León in 910, Compostela became more politically relevant, and several kings of Galicia and of León were acclaimed by the Galician noblemen and crowned and anointed by the local bishop at the cathedral, among them Ordoño IV in 958, Bermudo II in 982, and Alfonso VII in 1111, by which time Compostela had become capital of the Kingdom of Galicia. Later, 12th-century kings were also sepulchered in the cathedral, namely Fernando II and Alfonso IX, last of the Kings of León and Galicia before both kingdoms were united with the Kingdom of Castile.
During this same 10th century and in the first years of the 11th century Viking raiders tried to assault the town—Galicia is known in the Nordic sagas as Jackobsland or Gallizaland—and bishop Sisenand II, who was killed in battle against them in 968, ordered the construction of a walled fortress to protect the sacred place. In 997 Compostela was assaulted and partially destroyed by Ibn Abi Aamir (known as al-Mansur), Andalusian leader accompanied in his raid by Christian lords, who all received a share of the booty. However, the Andalusian commander showed no interest in the alleged relics of St James. In response to these challenges bishop Cresconio, in the mid-11th century, fortified the entire town, building walls and defensive towers.
According to some authors, by the middle years of the 11th century the site had already become a pan-European place of peregrination,while others maintain that the cult to Saint James was before 11-12th centuries an essentially Galician affair, supported by Asturian and Leonese kings to win over faltering Galician loyalties. Santiago would become in the course of the following century a main Catholic shrine second only to Rome and Jerusalem. In the 12th century, under the impulse of bishop Diego Gelmírez, Compostela became an archbishopric, attracting a large and multinational population. Under the rule of this prelate, the townspeople rebelled, headed by the local council, beginning a secular tradition of confrontation by the people of the city—who fought for self-government—against the local bishop, the secular and jurisdictional lord of the city and of its fief, the semi-independent Terra de Santiago ("land of Saint James"). The culminating moment in this confrontation was reached in the 14th century, when the new prelate, the Frenchman Bérenger de Landore, treacherously executed the counselors of the city in his castle of A Rocha Forte ("the strong rock, castle"), after inviting them for talks.
Santiago de Compostela was captured and sacked by the French during the Napoleonic Wars; as a result, the remains attributed to the apostle were lost for near a century, hidden inside a cist in the crypts of the cathedral of the city.
The excavations conducted in the cathedral during the 19th and 20th centuries uncovered a Roman cella memoriae or martyrium, around which grew a small cemetery in Roman and Suevi times which was later abandoned. This martyrium, which proves the existence of an old Christian holy place, has been sometimes attributed to Priscillian, although without further proof.
Santiago's economy, although still heavily dependent on public administration (i.e. being the headquarters of the autonomous government of Galicia), cultural tourism, industry, and higher education through its university, is becoming increasingly diversified. New industries such as timber transformation (FINSA), the automotive industry (UROVESA), and telecommunications and electronics (Blusens and Televés) have been established. Banco Gallego, a banking institution owned by Novacaixagalicia, has its headquarters in downtown rúa do Hórreo.
Tourism is very important thanks to the Way of St. James, particularly in Holy Compostelan Years (when 25 July falls on a Sunday). Following the Xunta's considerable investment and hugely successful advertising campaign for the Holy Year of 1993, the number of pilgrims completing the route has been steadily rising. More than 272,000 pilgrims made the trip during the course of the Holy Year of 2010. Following 2010, the next Holy Year will not be for another 11 years when St James feast day again falls on a Sunday. Outside of Holy Years, the city still receives a remarkable number of pilgrims. In 2013, 215,880 people completed the pilgrimage. In 2014, there were 237,983 persons. In 2015, there were 262,513 persons and in 2016, there were 277,854 persons.
Editorial Compostela owns daily newspaper El Correo Gallego, a local TV, and a radio station. Galician language online news portal Galicia Hoxe is also based in the city. Televisión de Galicia, the public broadcaster corporation of Galicia, has its headquarters in Santiago.
The legend that St James found his way to the Iberian Peninsula and had preached there is one of a number of early traditions concerning the missionary activities and final resting places of the apostles of Jesus. Although the 1884 Bull of Pope Leo XIII Omnipotens Deus accepted the authenticity of the relics at Compostela, the Vatican remains uncommitted as to whether the relics are those of Saint James the Greater, while continuing to promote the more general benefits of pilgrimage to the site. Pope Benedict XVI undertook a ceremonial pilgrimage to the site on his visit to Spain in 2010.
According to a tradition that can be traced back at least to the 12th century, when it was recorded in the Codex Calixtinus , Saint James decided to return to the Holy Land after preaching in Galicia. There he was beheaded, but his disciples got his body to Jaffa, where they found a marvelous stone ship which miraculously conducted them and the apostle's body to Iria Flavia, back in Galicia. There, the disciples asked the local pagan queen Loba ('She-wolf') for permission to bury the body; she, annoyed, decided to deceive them, sending them to pick a pair of oxen she allegedly had by the Pico Sacro, a local sacred mountain where a dragon dwelt, hoping that the dragon would kill the Christians, but as soon as the beast attacked the disciples, at the sight of the cross, the dragon exploded. Then the disciples marched to collect the oxen, which were actually wild bulls which the queen used to punish her enemies; but again, at the sight of the Christian's cross, the bulls calmed down, and after being subjected to a yoke they carried the apostle's body to the place where now Compostela is. The legend was again referred with minor changes by the Czech traveller Jaroslav Lev of Rožmitál, in the 15th century.
The relics were said to have been later rediscovered in the 9th century by a hermit named Pelagius, who after observing strange lights in a local forest went for help after the local bishop, Theodemar of Iria, in the west of Galicia. The legend affirms that Theodemar was then guided to the spot by a star, drawing upon a familiar myth-element, hence "Compostela" was given an etymology as a corruption of Campus Stellae, "Field of Stars."
In the 15th century, the red banner which guided the Galician armies to battle, was still preserved in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in the centre Saint James riding a white horse and wearing a white cloak, sword in hand:The legend of the miraculous armed intervention of Saint James, disguised as a white knight to help the Christians when battling the Muslims, was a recurrent myth during the High Middle Ages.
The 1,000-year-old pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is known in English as the Way of St. James and in Spanish as the Camino de Santiago. Over 200,000 pilgrims travel to the city each year from points all over Europe and other parts of the world. The pilgrimage has been the subject of many books, television programmes, and films, notably Brian Sewell's The Naked Pilgrim produced for the British television channel Channel 5 and the Martin Sheen/Emilio Estevez collaboration The Way .
As the lowest-lying land on that stretch of coast, the city's site took on added significance. Legends supposed of Celtic origin made it the place where the souls of the dead gathered to follow the sun across the sea. Those unworthy of going to the Land of the Dead haunted Galicia as the Santa Compaña or Estadea.
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Santiago de Compostela is featured prominently in the 1988 historical fiction novel Sharpe's Rifles , by Bernard Cornwell, which takes place during the French Invasion of Galicia, January 1809, during the Napoleonic Wars.
The music video for Una Cerveza , by Ráfaga, is set in the historic part of Santiago de Compostela.
A pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela provides the narrative framework of the Luis Buñuel film La Voie lactée (The Milky Way).
A mystic pilgrimage was portrayed in the autobiography and romance The Pilgrimage ("O Diário de um Mago") of Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho, published in 1987.
Santiago de Compostela is served by Santiago de Compostela Airport and a rail service.
Santiago de Compostela Airport is the 2nd busiest airport in northern Spain after Bilbao Airport. The airport is located in the parish of Lavacolla, 12 km from the city center and handled 2,644,925 passengers in 2017.
Santiago de Compostela railway station is linked to the Spanish High Speed Railway Network. Madrid is reached in about 5 hours and 10 minutes.
Porto can also be reached in less than 5 hours changing to the Celta train in Vigo.
On 24 July 2013 there was a serious rail accident near the city in which 79 people died and at least 130 were injured when a train derailed on a bend as it approached Compostela station.
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Santiago de Compostela is twinned with:
James the Great also known as James, son of Zebedee or as Saint James the Greater was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament. James is described as one of the first disciples to join Jesus. The Synoptic Gospels say that James and John were with their father by the seashore when Jesus called them to follow him. Saint James is the patron saint of Spain and, according to tradition, his remains are held in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.
The Camino de Santiago, known in English as the Way of St. James, is a network of pilgrims' ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth. It is also popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts and organized tour groups, and can be seen within the context of Christian colonization and Christianization.
Tui is a municipality in the province of Pontevedra in the autonomous community of Galicia, in Spain. It is situated in the comarca of O Baixo Miño. It is located on the left bank of the Miño River, facing the Portuguese town of Valença.
The anonymous Historia Compostelana is based on the relation of events by a writer in the immediate circle of Diego Gelmírez, second bishop (1100–1120) then first archbishop (1120–1140) of Compostela, one of the major figures of the Middle Ages in Galicia. The narrative of the Historia Compostelana spans the years 1100 – 1139, the years of Gelmírez' tenure, in three books. Its twofold central agenda is to extol the Archbishop's doings, while establishing the foundation and rights of Santiago de Compostela, including its founding legend, which provided apostolic connections with Saint James the Great. The bishopric had been transferred from Iria Flavia to Compostela as recently as 1095.
Iria Flavia or simply Iria in Galicia, northwestern Spain, is an Ancient settlement and former bishopric in the modern municipality of Padrón, which remains a Catholic titular see.
Diego Gelmírez or Xelmírez was the second bishop and first archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, modern Spain. He is a prominent figure in the history of Galicia and an important historiographer of the Iberia of his day. Diego involved himself in many quarrels, ecclesiastical and secular, which were recounted in the Historia Compostelana, which covered his episcopacy from 1100 to 1139 and serves as a sort of gesta of the bishop's life.
A Estrada is a municipality of the Pontevedra province in Galicia in northwestern Spain. It is located some 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Santiago de Compostela.
The Santiago de Compostela Cathedral is part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela and is an integral component of the Santiago de Compostela World Heritage Site in Galicia, Spain. The cathedral is the reputed burial place of Saint James the Great, the apostle of Jesus Christ. It is also one of the only three known churches in the world built over the tomb of an apostle of Jesus, the other two being St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica, Chennai in India.
The Iberian Peninsula has been inhabited for at least 500,000 years, first by Neanderthals and then by modern humans.
The Kingdom of Galicia was a political entity located in southwestern Europe, which at its territorial zenith occupied the entire northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. It was founded by the Suebic king Hermeric in 409, with its capital established in Braga. It was the first kingdom which adopted Catholicism officially. In 449 it minted its own currency. It was part of the Kingdom of the Spanish Visigothic monarchs from 585 to 711. In the 8th century Galicia became a part of the newly founded Christian kingdoms of the north-west of the peninsula, Asturias and León, while occasionally achieving independence under the authority of its own kings. Compostela became capital of Galicia in the 11th century, while the independence of Portugal (1128) determined its southern boundary. The accession of Castilian King Ferdinand III to the Leonese kingdom in 1230 brought Galicia under the control of the Crown of Castile, the kingdom of Galicia becoming a political division within the larger realm.
Padrón is a concello in the Province of A Coruña, in Galicia (Spain) within the comarca of O Sar. It covers an area of 48.4 km², is 95 km from A Coruña and 23km from Santiago de Compostela. As of 2009, had a population of 8968 according to the INE. Padrón is divided into five parishes:
Muxía is a coastal town and municipality in the province of A Coruña in the autonomous community of Galicia in northwestern Spain. It belongs to the comarca of Fisterra. It is one of the final destinations for pilgrims on the Way of St. James after visiting the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in Santiago de Compostela.
The Battle of Clavijo is a mythical battle. "To a serious historian, the existence of the Battle of Clavijo is not even a topic of discussion". However, it was believed for centuries to be historical, and it became a popular theme of Spanish traditions regarding the Christian expulsion of the Muslims. The stories about the battle are first found centuries after it allegedly occurred; according to them, it was fought near Clavijo between Christians, led by Ramiro I of Asturias, and Muslims, led by the Emir of Córdoba.
Oeste Towers is a castle in Catoira, Galicia, Spain. It is located at the head of the Ría de Arousa. It is in the region of Caldas (Pontevedra), in the river Ulla estuary. The towers remaining today are the ruins of Castellum Honesti. Torres del Oeste has been declared a national monument.
Christianity has a strong tradition of pilgrimages, both to sites relevant to the New Testament narrative and to sites associated with later saints or miracles.
Munio or Muño Peláez was a Galician magnate, a member of the Banu Gómez clan, during the reigns of Alfonso VI, Urraca and Alfonso VII. By December 1108 he held the title of comes (count), the highest in the kingdom. He was a son of count Pelayo Gómez, grandson son of Gómez Díaz de Carrión and Teresa Peláez. His mother was Elvira Muñoz, half-sister of count Rodrigo Muñoz, and daughter of Munio Rodríguez and Ilduara Velázquez. Elvira's ancestors had founded the monastery of Santa María de Ferreira.
Pedro Fróilaz de Traba was the most powerful secular magnate in the Kingdom of Galicia during the first quarter of the twelfth century. According to the Historia compostelana, he was "spirited ... warlike ... of great power ... a man who feared God and hated iniquity," for Diego Gelmírez himself had "fed him, like a spiritual son, with the nutriment of holy teaching." Brought up at the court of the Emperor Alfonso VI, Pedro raised the future Emperor Alfonso VII in his household. Around the latter he and Diego formed a "Galician party" that dominated that region during the turbulent reign of Urraca (1109–26). In September 1111 they even had the child Alfonso crowned king at Santiago de Compostela, but it was Pedro who was imperator in orbe Galletiae.
Saint Gonzalo, a medieval Galician nobleman and clergyman, was the long-serving Bishop of Mondoñedo from 1071. According to one modern source he was a brother of Pedro Fróilaz de Traba. If he was elected at the canonical age of thirty, he would have been born in 1040 or 1041, which would in turn support the contemporary contention that he was old in 1104–5, but cast doubt on his relationship with Pedro Fróilaz. Perhaps he was a more distant relative of the same family, the budding House of Traba.
Theodemir or Theodomir, was a bishop of Iria, in Galicia. He was the discoverer of the alleged tomb of Saint James the Great, in what's now Santiago de Compostela, at some point between year 818, when his predecessor bishop Quendulf was still alive, and 842 when king Alfonso II of Asturias died.
In the year 968, a Norwegian Viking fleet led by Gunrod went to help the duke Richard I of Normandy, who was afraid of a possible invasion by the Carolingian king Lothar I of France. Once the Franks had been defeated, the fleet of Gunrod stayed in Normandy, becoming a threat for Richard, so, the Norman duke sent the Norsemen to another place by telling them about the existence of an important pilgrimage site in the north of Hispania, Santiago de Compostela, where they could pillage a huge treasure. The fleet of Gunrod reached Galicia the same year. They crushed the Galician army, and then entered and sacked the city of Santiago de Compostela. Three years after the sack of Santiago de Compostela, Gunrod attacked Galicia again, only to find a powerful army sent to put an end to the Viking expedition.
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