Sunday, June 22, 2008



The Cathedral is of course the most impressive building in Santiago de Compostela. Anyhow, even in religious terms, Santiago has much more to offer. This post, strolling through the city, shows just a small part of the forty six churches one may find there!

"ST. JAMES reputedly appeared to Christian soldiers in their battle to re-conquer land from the Moors and became known as «Matamoros». A small chapel was built on the site where his remains were discovered which developed into today's Cathedral"

"SAINT MARTIN PINARIO - There was some competition in terms of monumentality between the Cathedral and the early 16th century Monastery of San Martin Pinario, one of Spain's largest religious buildings and one of the most impressive examples of the baroque in Compostela. The monastery, founded by a group of Benedictines and built over a medieval cloister, has a 100m long main façade, just in front of the north façade of the cathedral and of a small garden. Four Doric columns, an image of Saint Benedict in the centre and an upper structure showing the coat of arms from Spain occupy the main door. The image of Saint Martin from Tours on horseback sharing his cloak with a poor, representing Christ, was added by Fernando de Casas y Novoa in the 17th century"

"THE PLATERESQUE FAÇADE - On the eastern side, a flight of steps goes downwards to an impressive Plateresque façade from the late 16th century composed like an altarpiece, with statues and relief's"

"THE ALTAR - The church is an exceptional museum of baroque art, and its gold decorated main altar, also with a design of Casas y Novoa, one of the most impressive masterpieces"

"SAN FRUTUOSO is a Churrigueresque 18th century church. The façade, seen here from the terrace of the Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos, shows «Our Lady of Las Angustias» over the main door"

"SANTA MARIA SALOME is one of the churches commissioned by Archbishop Xelmirez in the 12th century. Dedicated to the mother of the Apostle, only the front remains from the original building. The baroque tower is from the 18th century"

"SAN BIEITO DO CAMPO is a single tower, single nave, 18th century neoclassical church in the middle of Plaza Cervantes. It is now on the site of a 10th century church, rebuilt by Archbishop Xelmirez in the 12th century..."

"UNIVERSITY CHURCH - The 17th century baroque Church of Compañia was built by the Jesuits, but became the University chapel at the end of the 18th century when the order was expelled. The statues of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier on the façade were disfigured to represent St. Peter and St. Paul"

"SAINT AGUSTIN CHURCH was built in the 17th century in the baroque style, near the market. It was supposed to have two towers but one of them was never built"


"THE CHURCH OF THE ANIMAS (THE SOULS, 1784) has some impressive Ionic columns in the neoclassical façade, where a terracotta bas-relief depicting souls burning in the Purgatory is probably its most outstanding feature"

"SANTA MARIA DEL CAMINO - This church, finished around 1770 by Ferro Caaveiro, was rebuilt in the baroque style to substitute the old one from the Romanesque period"

"SAN DOMINGOS DE BONAVAL is a 14th century baroque church with some Romanesque elements (The monastery was allegedly founded in 1220 by Santo Domingo de Guzman). Inside the church, the Pantheon of Illustrious Galician keeps the mortal remains of outstanding personalities, like the poet Rosalía de Castro"

"SANTA CLARA - The 17th century baroque convent has its origins in a 13th century structure"

"THE CARME CONVENT is an austere and discreet 18th century baroque convent near Santa Clara, featuring the unusual granite masonry that defines the façade"

"SAN FRANCISCO - The convent was founded by St. Francis of Assisi during his visit in 1214. However, what remains from the original building are only five gothic arches in the cloister and the tomb of Cotolay, the legendary builder of the convent. The present baroque construction was built between 1742 and 1749"

"CASA DO CABIDO - The Chapterhouse at Praza de Praterias is not a building but a three metre deep ornamental façade made in the 18th century for purely decorative purposes. The aim was to enhance the theatrical effect of the square. It stands in three heights, topped by a balustrade adorned with references to St. James"

"CATHEDRAL - Anywhere you go, the massive Cathedral imposes its presence!"


Anonymous said...

Welcome to Santiago’s churches! There are a lot more, but these seemed interesting enough to make a post. Meanwhile, for Lori, I added a YouTube video of the «Botafumeiro» on my last post! Hope you enjoy; both the addition and the new post!

Lynette said...

I am amazed at the number of wonderful photos you've taken of this, as you put it, massive cathedral. How did you get so many different angles for your photos? You must have gone up and down steep stairs and looked out of many windows, large and small. I especially like the photo looking into the courtyard as well as all of the ones showing the details of the sculptures. Without those details, many worshipers would not have been able to visualize the tenets of their religion.

Thanks so much for your visits to Portland Oregon Daily Photo.

Mariposa said...

Wow, wonderful photos..I would go visit Galicia someday. Thank you for sharing =)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful amazing photographs from different angles & heights !!

After seeing your photos, I always feel that world is not small. We have so much to see.

Thanks for sharing.

Lilli & Nevada said...

I am always amazed at the beautiful churches there is in Europe. So much architect goes into them. And the beauty that stays for hundreds of yrs.
Thanks for stopping in on my blog and leaving such nice comments

Sigma said...

Wonderful pictures, as always!! All these old churches are really impressive ... must be a great treat to visit a place like this.

I am coming here after a long while ... though I keep track of the tours you are taking us on, through the reader :-)

Anonymous said...

they are all very impressive!!! thanks for shared

Olivier said...

cette architecture religieuse est magnifique et impressionnante. merci pour ces decouvertes

PeterParis said...

Incredible! … and you say there are many more of them ! 46! The richness of the Iberian Peninsula during the baroque period is evident! You can of course question why so much money was put in religious offices those days (involving also other arts like paintings, sculptures, music...), but at least it gives us today the opportunity to enjoy their gifts and craftsmanship! The “sponsors” were then royalty, nobility and the Church! Those “sponsors” are not there any more.

Lara said...

thanks for visiting my page! this new set of pictures is great! I am in a travelling mood still, although my holiday is over.

lyliane six said...

Toutes ces magnifiques églises dans une seule ville!On reconnait bien là l'Espagne catholique de cette époque.
C'est superbe toutes ces richesses.

Daniel Chérouvrier said...

Le plus long n'est pas d'arriver à Saint Jacques mais de faire le tour de ses richesses !

Noushy Syah said...

I agree with one of the above comments asking on how did you take the photos so beautifully from different angles! About the structure of the cathedrals,need not to say that they are amazing!

I personally love all the photos in this posting.Well done Gil.Thanks for sharing.

Have a gr8 weekdays.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of beautiful buildings. I like the last photo best, with the churches towering high over the red-roofed city.

JB's Big and Small Worlds said...

VEry beautiful architecture and post. Must have been a great trip!

Shionge said...

I must confess Gil that I was totally overwhelmed by all these magnificent shots and the grandeur of the cathedrals.

Too much publicity for tours to Vatican, Notre Dame that this is certainly a place that the tour agents ought to promote.

I imagine how grand it would be if there is some restoration and promotion to all people to visit.

I am totally intrigued Gil and I must thank you, you are so lucky to have visit this place :D

S-V-H said...

This are all so wonderful pictures of those churches! I fell in love with the "Casa do Cabido", I love that one: the clouds in the back make it just perfect!

Thanks for sharing it, Gil!!! and thanks for your kind comment on my blog too. :-)

Nikon said...

Amazing shots, Gil, and an amazing collection of churches.
"The Altar" shot is really staggering! What work that must have taken to create!

leo said...

awesome!! i enjoyed your previous Botafumeiro clip too - it's like being transferred into another world, surreal indeed. very good post thanks.

Indrani said...

All still maintained so well. Loved the pictures Gil, thanks so much for sharing.

kyh said...

Those are some of the most loveliest and spectacular churches I've ever seen! Thanks for the tour... Ah... I feel like going there!!!

Dsole said...

Gil, I've been several times in Santiago but I didn't realize there was so many churches before!!
Even they're amazingm I prefer eating "pulpo a la gallega"... Next week I'll be there!!! ^^

Anonymous said...

I love these virtual tours on which you take us. It's great to get away via your wonderful photos. Thank you!


CaBaCuRl said...

46 churches?? That's a LOT of churches, but it seems to be such a special city, so I suppose each church has a specific reason to be in it's location. Don't worry, GMG, I am NOT one of those crazy Polo drivers ;-)

Nihal said...

Hi Gil,
Hope this message finds you in the best of health and makes you smiley:)
I just could not stop myself praying while reading Santiago’s churches. Impressive indeed! Like many other churches, the Santiago churches’ front entrance is grand and highly visible. Framed by an arch, elaborate sculptures,...
My warm thanks for taking some of your valueable time to make such a great post. Unpayable favor for us.

Have a nice day & Greetings,


Anonymous said...

Wow, that's a lot of cathedrals, and there are more? You've done a lovely job with perspective on these photos.

Unknown said...

Hi Gil, there's something about churches and religious buildings..sort of dreamy and I cant help but to think what went on in these buildings years ago.

wonderful post Gil and happy weeekend :)

Ash said...

Absolutely fantastic!!

hpy said...

Quarenta y seis. That's a lot. However, I like the photo of the SANTA MARIA SALOME best.

Lakshmi said...

the presence is so towering indeed..fantastic pictures. and Im looking forward to the tour.

JO said...

WOW! What magnificent pics! I really love the sky in the second CASA DO CABIDO Pic... Wonderful!

What a fabulous trip this must have been...

alicesg said...

Wow, those are very lovely set of photos. The buildings are all so huge and have beautifully architectural designs. Love all those sculptures too.

Chuckeroon said...

Tks for the comments on Kew, Trotter. Sometimes I compare all this Compostella type grandeur with Richmond and find it a bit dull around here! ;-) Very "small town".

indicaspecies said...

Simply magnificent, and your photography is fabulous.

lyliane six said...

Espagne ou Allemagne? en tous les cas la bière coule déjà à flots là bas et il y a une ambiance comme le dit ma soeur.

Azer Mantessa said...

i was like stunned by the number of churches ... 46 ... wow!

capturing something with detail comprehension is always a worthwhile reading.

everytime i travel ... i am so the opposite ... like ... aaa ...ok ... hmmm ... ok ... so people around just never bother asking me: what it's like?

there must be a short circuit somewhere in my brain. that's why i bloghop ... when comes to comprehensive descriptive writing, i give you and peter olson 5 stars.

have a nice weekend.

Azer Mantessa said...

my wife saw me writing the above comment and agree on my short circuit thing and suggested me to focus on the the travelling items rather sexy looking women


Thistlemoon said...

Wow, I am really enjoying this post! I love old churches - there is just something so amazing about their design, meant to stand the test of time. Some gorgeous shots there!

My Unfinished Life said...

i glanced through the post very quickly i told you already..not very much interested in cathedrals...but your pics of the streets and top shot of piazza with fountain in the middle was nice!!!!

Emery Roth said...

Your travels continue to amaze and delight me. Some of these places I have studied in both literature and art classes, and some I have taught about in my own humanities classes. While I would love to get therer, it may never happen. Your wonderful photos are the best I've seen. Thanks for taking us along on your explorations.

lv2scpbk said...

Beautiful flowers and I love seeing the town. They have some long narrow alley's there. It's amazing all the places you travel and wonderful photos you bring us.

Come see the great catch of the day, for me and someone else.

Anonymous said...

Hi everybody! Thanks for your visits and comments. Santiago’s posts are almost over, and the delay in posting is basically reduced to 15 months, but I’m not so sure that I’ll manage to keep it that way, unless I substantially reduce the number of pictures I post from the places I’ve visited later. I’ll try to manage that avoiding to make posts too recurring and tedious and at the same time still showing some interesting parts of this not so small world! Hope you’ll be fond of it and keep commenting… ;)

You’re right: up and down many stairs, and looking through lots of windows… Many miles on the poor legs… ;)

Great choice for your visit: Galicia! A bit further south, another great spot: Portugal! ;)

For some reason the motto of this blog is: «It’s not such a small world…» ;))

Lilli & Nevada,
Those churches were built to last… ;)

Thanks for your visits and comments! Santiago is a wonderful place…



46 for roughly a bit more than 90,000 residents, including almost 40,000 students…
You’re right; these «sponsors» are no longer there, but there are others that have taken the place; not for churches, anyhow… Museums! ;)

Great to see that you’re on the travelling mood! Sorry that holidays are over… ;))

46, ça fait une église pour chaque 2000 résidents; si on se rappelle qu’il y a presque 40000 étudiants qui n’habitent pas la ville en permanence, la moyenne sera de une église pour chaque 1100 habitants… ;))
La bière coulera, c’est évident… Mais j’espère que ça sera plutôt San Miguel ou Cruzcampo que Löwenbrau ou Beck’s…;)))

Tu as raison; j’ai trouvé que faire le tour de Santiago a été beaucoup plus difficile que d’y arriver… ;))

Noushy Syah,
Up and down the stairs and looking through many windows, that’s how I managed to catch most of the pictures… ;))

Some of the roofs on the right-hand side are from the Cathedral complex; actually from the museums…

Great trip it was…

St. Peter (Vatican) is St. Peter, Notre Dame (Paris) is Notre Dame, but it’s true that Santiago is also unique and deserves some attention… Maybe knowledge it’s not too spread outside Europe, but at least here there is no lack of «marketing» either of the Way or of the Cathedral itself… not to mention the town, capital city of the Region of Galicia!

That Casa do Cabido is incredible! You noticed that it’s basically a façade to close the square and that it’s only three to four metres deep… ;)

I agree; that «Altar» is the sublime baroque at its best!!

Great that you enjoyed the «Botafumeiro»! Surreal is quite appropriate for the censer and even for Santiago, as we’ll see on my last post dedicated to «Cultural Santiago»! ;))

It surely takes a lot of money to keep it maintained; but it also represents a huge source of funding… ;))

Thanks! It’s an amazing town, full of baroque churches!

Good luck for this evening! «Pulpo» y «Albariño», great… ;))

My pleasure to make you travel!!

It was like that: they just kept building churches… ;)
Great to know that you’re not on the traditional Polo drivers side… ;))

Thanks! It’s always a great pleasure reading your comments here! I’m very glad tht you liked it! And sorry for Tuesday’s result, but must confess that if Portugal didn’t do it, I was not expecting that Turkey would manage to beat the Germans… ;))

Thanks. These are «clean» pictures from the perspective point of view; but you know that Oliver showed us an amazing freeware – ShiftN – that makes miracles… ;))

It’s probably better not to investigate too much on what happened inside those buildings many years ago… ;))


Quarenta y seis! Actually one church for almost every thousand of permanent residents…

You’ll see those towers from almost everywhere…

The Casa do Cabido is probably the weirdest building in Santiago… ;))

Alice SG,
It’s true that the sculptures of St. Martin are beautiful!

Santiago is certainly not at all dull… You should try the Paris-Dakar race!! ;))


Azer Mantessa,
Great comment; as your posts actually… Thanks for the 5-star award; joining Peter is an honour! And what an idea, the short circuit… it allows you to look at interesting «items»… Great excuse!! ;))

Thanks! It’s true that those churches were build to last…

Shooting Star,
OK! Next posts, no cathedrals… Enjoy the Paris-Dakar… ;))

Ted Roth,
Thanks! It’s a great pleasure to see that my pictures may be a source of enjoyment for the blog visitors! It’s extremely flattering and rewarding!

Glad that you liked to visit Santiago through my lens…
Great catch indeed!

mhel said...

Great churches! Great Photos! Amazing. Hopefully I can visit Europe someday.

Thanks for the link. I've reciprocated. :)

Anonymous said...

The Asian Traveler,
Glad that you enjoyed! Drop a note if you hapen to come close to Portugal! And thanks also for the link!

Daniel Chérouvrier said...

Tu es le meilleur agent de la lutte contre le réchauffement de la planète.
Nul besoin de prendre l'avion il suffit de se connecter à ton blog.
You're the best fighter against global warming. No need to take any airplane, we've just to have a look at your blog !

Anonymous said...

Merci! Je le prends comme un compliment... ;)