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Praterías Square

The Cathedral's south square, which is called after the silversmiths workshops occupying the arches underneath the cloister since the Middle Ages, is dominated by the Cathedral's only remaining Romanesque façade. It dates from the year 1078 or 1103 and was severely damaged during the popular uprisings against Archbishop Gelmírez, in the second decade of the 12th century, being reconstructed a few years later. During the following centuries, more Romanesque figures were added from the so-called `Puerta del Paraíso´, on the Cathedral's north side, in order to create a work of rich iconography. The frieze combines apostles, angels and signs of the zodiac. The centre is occupied by a stylised Christ, accompanied by St. James. In the portals, the left-hand tympanum seems to represent Christ's temptation; the right-hand one depicts clearly recognisable scenes of the Passion: Pilate's judgement, the scourging and Judas betrayal. Other figures, such as King David and Adam's creation, decorate the sidewalls.

The Platerías portal is bordered by the bottom of the Clock Tower and the cloister wall. This depicts Renaissance medallions with scenes inspired by Jacobean tradition, such as St. James' relics being moved or his transfiguration into a warrior. At the top, the medallions correspond to Christ's genealogy, crowned, in the right-hand corner, by the figure of Mary and Baby Jesus, since the cloister is dedicated to Our Lady.

In the centre of the square, the Fuente de los Caballos (Fountain of the Horses) rises up against the background of the Casa del Cabildo, decorated with geometrical motifs typical of Compostela's baroque style. It is truly a stone backdrop that is barely three metres deep; the architect Fernández Sarela erected it in 1758 in order to close the square in this almost theatre-like way.

On the left, Casa del Deán is located at the beginning of the street called Rúa do Vilar. This 18th-century palace-house, designed by Fernández Sarela, was used to lodge bishops visiting the city. It now houses the Pilgrim Office, which issues the Compostela, a document certifying the Christian nature of those making the pilgrimage.

More information

Location
Plaza das Praterías, Santiago de Compostela, 15782
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