Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the Autonomous Community of Galicia and has approximately 95,000 inhabitants. The city It is the seat and place of pilgrimage destination of the Way of St. James and the location of University of Santiago de Compostela and important pharmaceutical industry.

Origin of the name

The name is composed of Santiago ( German holy Jacob ), which is about the intermediate form Sant Iago an abraded form of Latin Sanctus Iacobus, and Compostela. The second part of the name is interpreted in different ways. Folk etymology and because of the mention of a light phenomenon in the context of the Jacob grave is like the Latin campus stellae, Sternfeld accepted '(see City Arms: Star and reliquary ). Generally, it is nowadays of a cemetery - the Romans buried their dead along roads and crossings - on a street as a name and explains about compostum with latin, cemetery '. In the museum of the cathedral, the old way below the cathedral to the public.

However, because this explanation is ultimately unprovable, can be found in the literature ( among others, Legler ) further attempts at interpretation, involving the mentioned in the Translatio pre-Christian sanctuary.


James the Elder was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, son of Zebedee and brother of John. According to legend, he went right after Christ's ascension in the Roman province of Hispania, today's Spain to evangelize there - but with little success. He then returned to Palestine, where he was eventually beheaded by order of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea in the year 43. After widespread in Spain since the Middle Ages legend, his body was thrown into a boat, which was then driven to the coast of Spain. According to another version his disciples Athanasius and Theodorus brought the corpse to the sea in his mission area, Spain and put him in a stone grave on the territory of the present city of Santiago de Compostela in. According to another popular legend in church circles, Emperor Justinian the bones of the Sinai monastery; in the storms of Islam brought the relics of monks in Spain in safety. When the Muslims also conquered Spain, where the relics buried at the spot where now stands Santiago de Compostela. Excavations show that there was a necropolis that had belonged to a Roman military camp from the 1st to the 4th century and a Suebian settlement from the 5th to the 7th century.

In the period 818-834 ( often called the year 813 is not true) was discovered the alleged grave. According to legend, the hermit Pelayo saw a light phenomenon that pointed to an apostle grave. They reported the Theodemir, bishop of Iria Flavia. When they actually found a grave, Theodemir explained that it was the grave of St. James. Then, King Alfonso II of Asturias ( 791-842 ) built there a church that developed into a center of pilgrimage. Around the church, a village that was in the 10th century the city was Santiago.

The single-nave church soon became too small. Thus, 872 under King Alfonso III. started with a larger three-aisled building. On August 10, 997 destroyed Almansor, the great military leader of the Caliph of Cordoba, the city and the cathedral. ( The grave of James, however, was not damaged. ) The bells of the cathedral were dragged by enslaved Christians in the 1000 km distant Córdoba. (After the reconquest of Córdoba on June 29, 1237 by Castilian troops were allowed to them by Moorish slaves to bring back to Santiago. ) Only under Alfonso VI. the church was rebuilt. The work began according to various sources either 1075 or 1078th Around this time, Santiago de Compostela, Rome and Jerusalem next to the most important place of pilgrimage in Christendom.

The legend that James preached in Spain is considered by today's historical research as unhistorical. There is also no evidence for the assumption that the relics are genuine.

1985 was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO Santiago de Compostela. The Camino de Santiago (St. James ) was collected in 1987 for the first European Cultural Route, 1989, the Fourth World Youth Day was held in Santiago de Compostela.

In 2000, Santiago de Compostela Cultural Capital of Europe.

Population Development


Santiago was appointed to 830 for pilgrimage, as the Apostle James is attributed to the bones found in a grave. In the impressive cathedral a gilded canopy adorns the altar. A steady stream of pilgrims makes snakes, a large seated figure of Saint James is embraced as a sign of reverence and kissed.

Santiago de Compostela was next to Rome and Jerusalem, the most important pilgrimage destinations of the Christian Middle Ages. The catchment area reached to Scandinavia and eastern Central Europe. Since the 15th century holy years are occupied, which always take place when the Jacob's (25 July ) falls on a Sunday. Since the Holy Year of 1976, the St. James is experiencing a renaissance. Every year, about 75,000 pilgrims take a walk, bike, horseback or as a wheelchair user in Santiago. Since the early 11th century, the scallop ( Pecten maximus) is occupied as a pilgrim character. 1106 has been reported in Italy of miracles that took place solely by contact of such a pilgrim character. The mussels were brought from the Atlantic coast to Santiago, usually provided with two holes and sold on the market north of the cathedral door to the pilgrims. The mussels were worn on the front, hat and the pilgrims often given to the grave.

Another pilgrimage route from Seville to Santiago de Compostela, called the Silver Route, or Ruta de la Plata. It leads along the border with Portugal, Extremadura and was built about 2000 years ago by the Romans. The Moors called him " Ruta Bal'latta ", which means " wide paved path."


Santiago airport is located 15 km northeast of the city. He has daily flights by Ryanair from Frankfurt-Hahn and London Stansted since the winter of 2005 /06. Offers Air Berlin (via Palma de Mallorca) since early November 2005 regular connections to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Iberia operated Santiago via Madrid or Barcelona.

South of the old town is the Spanish National Railways RENFE train station. In addition to regional and national connections starts there once a day for a through train to Hendaye with international connection options.

On July 24, 2013, a severe train crash happened in consequence of 79 people were killed. An express train in the state railway company Renfe was when he derailed on the way from Madrid to Ferrol in a curve in the suburbs Angrois. The train with 190 km / h instead of permitted 80 km / h through a tight turn.

At the eastern edge of the Old Town of the large bus station is ( estación de autobuses ), driving with buses heading to the airport, in many Galician and Spanish cities and also ( without changing) include Germany, France and Switzerland.


Worth seeing is the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, with its relics. The facade of the cathedral is also depicted on the Spanish euro cent coins ( € 0.01 to € 0.05).

Near the cathedral is the Hospital de los Reyes Catolicos, who served since 1509 as a royal Hospice of the reception of travelers who came to Santiago, and today is one of the most prestigious and luxurious Parador Hotels. The hotel is one of the oldest in the world. It has four courtyards, elegant rooms and a magnificent dining room.

Well worth seeing is the whole, the UNESCO-protected old town, which is shown at the Cathedral and the Way of St. James as a World Heritage Site.

The busiest street in the old town of Santiago is the Rúa do Franco, leading directly to the area in front of the cathedral. Here you will find numerous restaurants with Galician specialties ( Pulpo cocido, Vieira, etc.).

From the cathedral, we passed through the Rúa de Franco to the output of the old town and then left over the Praza de Galicia ( where there is also an information point is located) go in the new district, where on weekdays, although there is not a pleasant calm atmosphere, but clearly is, looks like the everyday life of Galegos. To the right leads to the Alameda or Parque da Ferradura, whose promenade offers a very nice view of the old town and the front of the cathedral. In the shadow of the trees, the traditional Compostelaner cattle market was held until well into the second half of the 20th century, while at the other end of the " horseshoe " ( = Ferradura ) is the monument for the Galician poet Rosalía de Castro.

Besides the historic sights of Santiago de Compostela has now also offers a modern architecture. 1995, designed by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Galician Contemporary Art Centre was completed. On the mountain Gaia's a huge investment, City of Culture of Galicia was called in recent years, designed by the American architect Peter Eisenmann, which includes, among other things, a museum, a theater and a library.


The history of the University of Santiago de Compostela USC ( Universidade de Santiago de Compostela ) goes back to the 15th century. Today, the university is divided a north campus into a southern and. The campus in Lugo also belongs to the USC. Many buildings located in the center of the university are among the attractions of the city. This includes in particular the historical faculty at the Universidade Praza whose highlight is the library.


Sons and daughters of the town

  • Rosalía de Castro (1837-1885), poet
  • José Rodríguez Carballo ( born 1953 ), Minister General of the Franciscan Order
  • Mariano Rajoy ( born 1955 ), Prime Minister of Spain
  • David Blanco ( b. 1975 ), cyclist
  • Rubén González Rocha ( b. 1982 ), football player

Personalities who have worked on site

  • Diego Gelmírez (* probably around 1069, † 1149 ), first Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela


Santiago de Compostela maintains the following twinning:

  • Italy Assisi, Italy
  • Argentina Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Spain Cáceres, Spain
  • Portugal Coimbra, Portugal
  • France Le Puy -en -Velay, France
  • Iran Mashhad, Iran
  • Italy Pisa, Italy
  • Iran Qom, Iran
  • China People's Republic of Qufu, China
  • Cuba Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
  • Dominican Republic Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
  • Mexico Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico
  • Portugal Santiago do Cacém, Portugal
  • Brazil São Paulo, Brazil