HOSTAL DE LOS REYES CATÓLICOS - MARCH 2007
Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia and a UNESCO's World Heritage Site since 1985, is the famous destination of one of the most important medieval pilgrimages: «The Way of Saint James", which would allegedly lead to the burial site of the apostle, James the Great. Having existed for over one thousand years, the Way of St. James was declared the first European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in October 1987. It is said that «the tourist and the pilgrim are travellers in search of similar goals: the consummation of a miracle. They seek rest, and recognition of the hectic activity and ups and downs of the long road through daily life: they wish to earn the jubilee, plenary indulgence». The Way of St. James was one of the three pilgrimages on which a plenary indulgence could be earned...
This post is dedicated to the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos, a building that was commissioned as a Royal Hospital by Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon to host the pilgrims arriving in Santiago. Pilgrims and patients first occupied the Hospital in 1509, when it would be the largest and best equipped of the many along the Camiño. After many vicissitudes, the Hospital – always a sort of hotel – was converted into a Hostal in 1958. The result is today’s «Parador», claimed to be the world's first hotel and one of Spain’s most sumptuous.
"FAÇADE - The Hostal, a «stand alone» example of Galician architecture, has a wonderful facade designed by Enrique Egas which includes sculptures, coats of arms and a series of narrow windows, and an amazing Plateresque entrance!"
"PATIOS - The Hostal has four colonnaded and interconnected courtyards within its walls. Two of these piazzas date from the eighteenth century, but the two earlier «patios» are from the sixteenth century and feature water fountains at their hearts. The later courtyards are of a baroque design and were constructed during extensive remodelling and renovation"
"ROOM 401 - A combination of old and new, gives the rooms a cozy atmosphere. No wonder that the King and Queen of Spain, Baldwin and Fabiola, the Emperor of Japan, Mário Soares, Felipe González, Camilo José Cela (and us... :-)) have chosen the Parador as home in Santiago de Compostela..."
"PUBLIC SPACES - There is an amazing combination of wood and stone throughout the Hostal and a profound respect for the presence of the past: corridors, patios, floors, doors and windows are treated with great care, and what is not craftsmanship is pure art!"
"CHAPEL - The interior of the Hostal has a beautiful gothic chapel, with pointed arches, which was declared National Monument in 1912. The chapel has a Latin cross plan, and is located between the four patios. The vault of the cruise was constructed in stone of Coimbra, Portugal, and is an absolute beauty"
"VIEW - When you get out of the Hostal to the Plaza del Obradoiro you are provided with this fantastic view of the Cathedral, but that will be the subject of another post..."