At the end of the traditional street called Rúa de San Pedro, very close to the convent of Bonaval, we cross the area that was occupied by one of the old wall’s seven gates and enter what used to be a fortified walled city. The place is still known as “Porta do Camiño,” since it was and still is the entry point for pilgrims travelling the French route of the Way of St. James.
On their way to the cathedral, pilgrims pass by the street called Rúa de Casas Reais, whose name reminds us that this was the site of a building complex belonging to the Royal Galician Court in Santiago, an institution under the Royal Crown’s power and control.
Once we arrived at the Church of Las Ánimas, we are struck by the building’s sober classicism in a city dominated by the Romanesque and baroque styles. The façade reflects the constructive simplicity of the Neoclassical style, only altered by a bas-relief depicting Purgatory.
The church was built thanks to the alms given by devout believers in the Souls in Purgatory. An old tale about artistic vengeance is told in relation to this building. Once the church was finished, those who commissioned the architect refused to pay him. He therefore sculpted the face of each one of them, leaving them to burn forever in this Purgatory in front of the eyes of the entire city.