Santiago de Compostela was declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO in 1985, in view of its urban beauty and monumental integrity, as well as the profound echoes of its spiritual significance as an apostolic sanctuary and the destination of the Middle Ages' most important religious and cultural movement: the Way of St. James prilgrimage.
An extraordinary ensemble of distinguished monuments grouped around the tomb of St. James the Greater, the destination of all the roads of Christianity's greatest pilgrimage from the 11th to the 18th century, Santiago de Compostela is beyond the shade of a doubt one of the world heritage's most obvious properties as this city, owing to monumental integrity, enshrines both specific and universal values. To the irreplacable uniqueness of romanesque and baroque masterpieces is
added the transcendental esthetic contribution which makes use of diachronic and disparate elements in the construction of an ideal city which is overflowing with history and timeless as well. The exemplary nature of this city of Christian pilgrimage which is enriched by the ideological connotations of the "Reconquista" is echoed by the great spiritual significance of one of the few places which are so deeply imbued with faith as to become sacred for the whole of humanity (...)
ICOMOS reccomends the inclusion of Santiago de Compostela cm the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria I, II and VI.
Criterion I. Around its Cathedral which is a world renowned masterpiece of romanesque art, Santiago de Campostela conserves a valuable historic center which is worthy of one of Christianity's greatest holy cities.
Criterion II. During both the romanesque an baroque periods the sanctuary of Santiago exerted a decisive influence on the developmark of architecture and art not only in Galicia, but also in the north of the Iberian peninsula.
Criterion VI. The proposed cultural property is associated with one of the major themes of medievalhistcry. From the shores of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea thousands of pilgrims carrying the scallop and the pilgrim's staff for centuries walked to the Galician sanctuary along the paths of
Santiago, veritable roads of the Faith.
ICOMOS suggests that a number of subsequent proposals be made which will associate the various essential sites which are located in several countries under one singleheading such as "paths to Santiago" or "Pilgrimage to Compostela", thereby enhancing the worldwide significance of the inclusion of Santiago de Compostela on the World Heritage List (*).
ICOMOS, May 1985.