Walking through the history of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Spain is an old European country in which the passage of time has left indelible marks throughout its geography and its people. Among all the stories that have contemplated the future of the nation, the events that ended up raising the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela stand out strongly, of those there we echo in My Journey.

History of the the Cathedral of Santiago of Compostela

The cathedral of Santiago de Compostela has now become a symbol for practitioners of the Christian religion. Thanks to the milestones of the history that were lived there, today it is considered as the destination of the Xacobea Route, so millions of pilgrims arrive at their doors year after year from remote times.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela - FCG

However, how this cathedral was considered as a holy place of pilgrimage for the millions of Christians around the world? Let's get closer to the history of this unique space.

The origins of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

The cathedral has been dedicated to the apostle Santiago, whose remains rest between its walls after a long pilgrimage taking the word of Jesus Christ to various European corners.

The background of this cathedral begins in the first century A.D., when a small Roman mausoleum was located there in which the remains of the apostle, buried by decapitation in 44 AD were buried.

Detail of the facade of the cathedral of Santiago - tichr

Interestingly, the apostle James received death in Palestine, however, His remains were moved to the shores of what the Romans considered finis terrae, the end of the earth, today better known as Finisterre.

It is known that for centuries the tomb of the apostle Santiago was regularly visited by the local Christian community. However, little of its history has reached us, except that they were decimated until they disappeared.

The cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the Middle Ages

We take a leap in time and leave until the beginning of the ninth century, when there was a "miraculous" discovery. A hermit who lived on Mount Libredón, guided by “heavenly signs”, found the remains of the relics of the apostle Santiago among the undergrowth.

The Bishop of Iria Flavia was notified promptly, and soon reached the ears of the Asturian king Alfonso II, who ordered a chapel of mud and stone next to what was once the small Roman mausoleum.

Facade of the Cathedral of Santiago - FCG

Such was its importance, that a few years later, in 834, he would receive the title of Preceptum regio and it would become an episcopal seat with power over nearby territories. Around it came the first settlers forming the primitive city of Santiago de Compostela.

However, it was not until the end of the ninth century when it rose the first church in the area ordered to be built by Alfonso III the Great under the precepts of the Visigothic style, although it was destroyed after an attack by the Muslim king Almanzor in 997.

However, Bishop San Pedro de Mezonzo raised it again in 1003 with a pre-Romanesque building that endured for years, was the subject of pilgrimage and remained standing until the beginning of the works of the Romanesque cathedral that has reached to this day.

The Romanesque uprising of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Portico de la Gloria - Rodrigo Garrido / Shutterstock.com

The uprising of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela as it arrives today begins at the end of the ninth century. It was under the reign of the Leon King Alfonso VI and the archbishopric of Diego Gelmirez, main drivers of pilgrimages and the conversion of the city, which enjoyed great life in its time, reaching its maximum splendor in the twelfth century.

A simple altar was no longer sought in which to worship the relics of the apostle Santiago. A huge temple was designed to accommodate the large number of pilgrims and to follow the style that was already observed throughout the route of the Camino de Santiago.

“You will see the wonder of the Camino
Dream road Compostela.
Oh lily and gold! Pilgrim
on a plain between candle flakes ”

-Antonio Machado-

The best Romanesque builders contributed their grain of sand Raised the defensive towers, the crypt, the wonderful Portico de la Gloria, the sections of ships and the different parts of the cathedral that today looks majestic in the city.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela - FCG

The building was definitely consecrated in 1211,although he already had the privilege of giving plenary absolution to all who visited the cathedral in Holy Jubilee Year since 1181, by the work of Pope Alexander III.

The contributions to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

As time has passed, different contributions have enriched the whole of the cathedral due to the different archbishops and patrons. The Clock Tower was built in the fourteenth century, the cloister arrived in Renaissance times, the main altar and the dome were transformed in 1660 and the Obradoiro facade in 1750.

Also during the splendor of the baroque the monumental squares that surround the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela were transformed, giving the city a unique and wonderful space contemplated by 2000 years of fascinating history that today is an indispensable destination for all Christians and art lovers in general.

Video: Camino de Santiago Full Doumentary The Way of St. James (December 2019).