The Hostal dos Reis Católicos is located on Obradoiro Square near the cathedral. Some consider it the oldest hotel in the world dating from 1499 when it was originally a hospital. The hostel became a parador in 1958.
The Cathedral and the hotel for many pilgrims marks the end of the Camino (Way of St. James). Pilgrims have come from all directions, completing their pilgrimage here. The hotel's courtyard garden is shown here.
At this point, some pilgrims have very little money left and the hotel offers special rates for pilgrims who can show their pilgrim passport with stamps collected along one of the pilgrimage routes. A limited number of pilgrims are provided free services from the hotel.
Now truly a luxury hotel, the venue boasts rooms and meeting spaces of a wide variety. On one night while we were there, this room hosted an awards ceremony that seemed like a mini-Academy Awards event.
Fountain in one of the four cloisters. The hospital was originally funded by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel of Spain.
Unfortunately, the western facade of the Cathedral is undergoing renovation and the date for completion is unknown. We were able to tour the inside of the church and attend Mass.
St. James (the Greater), one of the twelve apostles is thought to have preached in this region. He later went back to Jerusalem and was martyred. Eventually, his bones (relics) are thought to have ended up here and, eventually, this great Cathedral was built.
Our guide stopped this young pilgrim. She was from Germany and had started her pilgrimage in Porto, Portugal, a distance of about 140 miles. She said she was not particularly religious. Pilgrims make the journey for all sorts of reasons, most of which are not religious. Her pilgrimage passport shows where she stopped on her journey.
Courtyard at the College of St. Jerome at the Pazo de Fonseca, near the Cathedral.
Statue of a former Archbishop of Santiago who had a father who earlier was Archbishop. The son's patronage resulted in a predecessor school to the present University of Santiago de Compostela.
References to the Spanish dictator have disappeared in many areas of Spain but this street survives and contains many restaurants in the old part of Santiago.
The Casino Cafe. Legend has it that it actually was a casino but was closed during the Franco rule.
The symbol for the Way of St. James is a scallop shell. It is on streets and buildings showing the correct direction and is frequently worn on pilgrim's clothing.
Typical store showing the shell emblem and the direction towards the Cathedral.
Clock tower of the Cathedral. Various parts of this tower were completed over a 500 year period.
South facade doors showing the apostles, prophets, Adam and Eve, Christ and other biblical figures.
East view of the clock tower.
St. James, the Apostle in the center with scallop shells on the facade below.
Gold leaf abounds inside the Cathedral.
One of the wooden side altars at the Cathedral.
Tomb containing relics of St. James
Cracked bells formerly in Cathedral towers. They were replaced in 1990. The bells were stolen by Almanzor's Moorish army in 997 and taken to a mosque in Cordoba. The bells were recaptured and returned to Santiago two hundred years later.
According to legend, Almanzor’s horse drank from this font with fatal results during the assault of the city in 997.
The ropes that are used to swing the huge Botafumeiro holding burning incense. It takes six to eight men to swing the 180 pound container during Masses. See the video for a demonstration.
Statue of St. James, the Moor Slayer. Below the horse, the pictured St. James is cutting off the heads of Moors. The statue was judged offensive to Muslims and was scheduled to be removed but an outcry resulted in its retention. Perhaps the flowers hide the offending deed.
After visiting the Cathedral, we sauntered through the Mercado de Abastos, considered one of Spain's better central markets.
Tetilla Gallega cheese. Tetilla means small breast in Galician and is appropriately shaped.