Take note of these interesting details about the Cathedral of Santiago!
-The Cathedral has a Latin-cross shape, which is characteristic of pilgrimage churches.
- Its original style is Romanesque, which you will see in the main naves and the “Pórtico de la Gloria.” Also in the Platerías façade. However, in many chapels you will find Gothic, Renaissance, baroque and neoclassical changes and adornments. The entire History of Art is here!
- This Cathedral was very big for its time. The interior measures 94 metres from west to east and 63 metres from north to south. It is the largest Romanesque church in Spain.
-The maximum hight of the naves is 20 metres, reaching 32 metres in the dome.
-Do you know why this Cathedral is so tall and elegant, although you may have been told that Romanesque churches are not usually? Part of the explanation lies in the triforium or gallery, that passageway with arches that you see at the top of the naves, which goes around the entire church. It is said that when medieval pilgrims arrived in droves and there was no accommodation in the city, they were temporarily lodged up there while waiting for mass.
-Today, the Cathedral has 16 chapels, apart from the Apostle’s crypt, the crypt of the “Pórtico de la Gloria” and an independent parish, La Corticela. It look like just another chapel, but it is not!
-Do you know where construction began on the Cathedral? From the back towards the front, first the sanctuary with its chapels and then the naves. The first to be completed was the Chapel of El Salvador.
-Some chapels form part of the Museum and contain relics, the tombs of Galician kings and the treasury. You have to buy a museum ticket to see them. You can look into other ones during your tour: you will see altarpieces, saints and beautiful domes, and even some tombs.
-The high altar is luxurious! It is 350 years old and is dominated by St. James dressed as a pilgrim. Above him there is a spectacular baldachin, supported by angels and crowned by the Spanish coat of arms, St. James dressed as a pilgrim and also as a warrior on a white horse. But do you know what is the most important thing? Here is where the high points for pilgrims and worshippers take place: the Pilgrim Mass, embracing the Apostle, visiting his relics and the Botafumeiro censer!