The chosen place. Beacon of medieval christendom
According to an ancient legend, St. James, one of the twelve apostles, travelled to Hispania and arrived in Galicia, the end of the world, to spread Christianity.
In AD 44 he was executed in Jerusalem and his burial was forbidden. His disciples sailed as far as Galicia, where they buried him. His tomb was forgotten until AD 813, when a shining light indicated the burial site.
A chapel was erected on the site, which the passing of time converted into a monumental Cathedral. It saw the birth and growth of a marvellous priestly city, Santiago de Compostela, which became the main pilgrimage destination in medieval Europe by means of the network of roads that make up the Way of St. James.
In the 12th century, the pope granted the Jubilee of the Holy Year, which made Santiago the Third Holy City, after Jerusalem and Rome. From then on, every year in which the Day of St. James, July 25, falls on a Sunday, thousands of believers make a pilgrimage to obtain a plenary indulgence. This 2021 will be the 120th Holy Year in history, counting from 1182. The next ones will be in 2027 and 2032.
An intangible channel of ideas and faith, of business relations and artistic and cultural exchanges, the Way of St. James was the spiritual route that built Europe and made Compostela a crossroads of medieval Christendom.
The trip to Santiago de Compostela therefore goes far beyond participation in traditional forms of worship: it is a search for Christian Europe’s spiritual and cultural roots. At a time when people are looking for meaning in their increasingly uncertain and hurried lives, the pilgrimage and trip to Santiago, in its genuine expression, is also a journey of discovery, of personal enrichment and of encounter with other travellers and pilgrims, of all ages and nationalities, who contribute with their joy to the lively atmosphere that is felt throughout the city.
Welcome to Santiago de Compostela.