Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

by Anna M.

Summary

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is located in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Santiago de Compostela is found in the province of A Coruña, or Galicia. It is the destination for many people walking the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage.


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Description

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is a shrine of Saint James. The Cathedral is a splendid building made of granite. It includes many bell towers and balconys. The Cathedral has many statues and carvings through out it. The most famous one is the carving of Saint James. It was carved by Maestro Mateo and he included a self-portrait of himself at the bottom. Bellow Saint James there is the Tree of Jesse. It is custom that when the pilgrims walking the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage arrive at the Cathedral they place their hands on the carving and pray. This has caused there to be five worn spots on the carving. Another important carving is one of the prophets. The carving was done around a granite column. The beautiful Romanesque building is truly a magnificent sight to see.

Religion

In 819 A.D. a church was built on the tomb of Saint James. That church was later destroyed by the al-Mansur's Moorish army in 997, although Saint James was left untouched. Almansur, a man of the army, forced the bells of the bell towers to be carried to the mosque in Cordoba. The construction of the current Cathedral began in 1060 in the reign of Alfonso VI. The Cathedral was completed in 1211. The outside of the building has undergone many transformations, but the inside remains mostly untouched. The skeleton of Saint James was lost after being hidden from an English invasion. The skeleton was thankfully found after some building work was completed. Three skeletons were actually found, supposedley Saint James and two of his disciples. They were able to identify Saint James because another church had a piece of his skull. The piece fit perfectly in one of the three skulls. The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is currently a splendid building containing the relics of Saint James.


The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is a sacred place to many. The main religion that calls the Cathedral home is Christian. One denomination of Christianity that really finds the cathedral sacred are the Roman Catholics. Many Christians come every year to the cathedral. It is known sacred place to all Christians. It is one of their many homes.

Sacred

The cathedral is considered as one of the three major Christian pilgrimage sites. The other two are Jerusalem and Rome. It is special and sacred to Roman Catholics and all Christians. The cathedral is sacred because it is the shrine of the apostle James. Saint James is an important person in Christian history. Another reason why the cathedral us so sacred is the fact that is the final stop on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage. The Cathedral is visited by thousands every year. These people are looking for spiritual guidance, and what better place to find it than at a truly sacred place.


The Pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela or Camino de Santiago both mean the Way of Saint James. Santiago is Spanish for Saint James. The Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage is also called the Camino. Every year thousands of people from all over the world walk this pilgrimage. Most of these people are Christians trying to find themselves in a spiritual sense. The thousands walk or bike at least part of the over 600 mile route from France to the city of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Upon arriving at the cathedral the pilgrims must show their passport proving that they have walked at least the final 62 miles of the trail. Their proof is stamps from different stops along the way. The second thing they must do is declare their spiritual motivations of their travels. Only then can he or she receive La Compostela.