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Around the streets
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Around the streets

Casa del Deán is followed, in Rúa do Vilar, by other Renaissance, baroque and neoclassical mansions, which reflect the street´s privileged location within the medieval layout. These aristocratic residences, which correspond to the prototype of an urban `pazo´ (palace), are characterised by their large coats of arms and the quality of their stonework and ornamental wrought-ironwork. Advancing towards Plaza de O Toural, there are examples such as the Torrente Ballester Foundation (No. 7) and the Caixa Galicia Foundation (No. 19), which house interesting exhibitions; Pazo de Monroy (No. 18), of pure Renaissance style, and Pazo de Vaamonde (No. 59), which houses the Consortium of Santiago, bordering the Entrerrúas lane (the city´s narrowest). Also of interest is the eclecticism of the old Casino de los Caballeros (No. 35), an elite club founded in 1876, whose cafeteria (decorated with interesting wooden reliefs and medallions depicting mythological and literary figures) is now open to the public.

After passing the Municipal Tourist Information Office (which houses Turismo de Santiago), we come to Plaza de O Toural. This was formerly a place where cattle were sold and people came to fetch water. Around its fountain from 1822 are some characteristic elements of urban architecture: granite paving, covered arches to shelter people from the rain, galleries for controlling the temperature and light of interior rooms, coats of arms and stately balconies. The most outstanding is Pazo de Bendaña, designed by Clemente Fernández Sarela in the 18th century. Its façade is crowned by the figure of Atlas supporting the vault of heaven. It now houses the Granell Foundation and the museum of the same name, where the legacy of the surrealist artist Eugenio Granell is kept.

Rúa Nova

We can see more examples of `pazos´ or palaces by visiting Rúa Nova, which has been called `nueva´ (in Spanish) or `new´ for 800 years. In this regard, it is worth mentioning Casa das Pomas (baroque) and Pazo de Santa Cruz, from the 19th century, which are very close to two of Compostela´s cultural bastions: Teatro Principal, founded in 1841, and Salón Teatro.

In amongst its residences appears the Church of Santa María Salomé, the only one in Spain dedicated to the mother of the apostles James and John the Evangelist. It features a curious covered portico, which survived the demolition of the arches protecting the street. The baroque church has a Romanesque façade, with a seated Virgin from the 14th century. On both sides there are two figures of an Annunciation from the 15th century, with the particularity that the Virgin is visibly pregnant. Inside the church, it is a real challenge to find the little angel wearing glasses that decorates the support of an altarpiece.

Rúa de Tras Salomé leads to Pazo de Fonseca, a Renaissance mansion commissioned in the mid-16th century by the illustrious family that gave the city three archbishops, one of whom founded the University. All that remains of the architect Gil de Hontañón´s original design is the ground floor, decorated with medallions. Nearby is Colexio das Orfas (`Huérfanas´ -orphan girls- in Spanish) or Convent of Los Remedios, founded in the 17th century (the period to which the church and belfry belong) and exteriorly remodelled in the 18th century.

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Around the streets
Around the streets

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Rúa Nova, Santiago de Compostela, 15705