Santiago de Compostela

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Santiago de Compostela municipality
coat of arms Map of spain
Coat of arms of Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela (Spain)
(42 ° 53 ′ 0 ″ N, 8 ° 32 ′ 0 ″ W)
Basic data
Autonomous Community : GaliciaGalicia Galicia
Province : A Coruña
Comarca : Santiago
Coordinates 42 ° 53 ′  N , 8 ° 32 ′  W Coordinates: 42 ° 53 ′  N , 8 ° 32 ′  W
Height : 260  msnm
Area : 220.01 km²
Residents : 97.260 (Jan. 1, 2019)
Population density : 442.07 inhabitants / km²
Postal code : 15700
Municipality number  ( INE ): 15078
Nearest airport : Santiago Airport (Lavacolla)
Mayor : Martiño Noriega Sánchez ( CA )
Address of the municipal administration: Pazo de Raxoi. Praza do Obradoiro. Tel .: +34 981 542 300
Website :
Location of the municipality
Situation Santiago de Compostela.PNG

Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the Spanish Autonomous Community of Galicia and has around 96,000 inhabitants. The city is the Catholic archbishop's seat and place of pilgrimage , the destination of the Way of St. James and the location of the University of Santiago de Compostela .

Origin of name

The name is made up of Santiago, which is a polished form of the Latin Sanctus Iacobus (German holy Jacob ) via the intermediate form San-Yago , and Compostela. The second part of the name is interpreted differently. In terms of folk etymology and because of the mention of a light phenomenon in connection with Jacob's grave, the Latin campus stellae ("star field") is often assumed (see city arms: star and reliquary). In general, a cemetery is assumed today - the Romans buried their dead at paths and crossings - on a street as the namesake and explained, for example, with the Latin compostum ("cemetery"). The old path below the cathedral can be viewed in the cathedral's museum.

But because this explanation cannot be proven in the end, there are further attempts at interpretation in the specialist literature (among others in Legler) that include the pre-Christian sanctuary mentioned in the translation .


In the Middle Ages , Santiago de Compostela was in front of A Coruña , the port on Spain's Atlantic coast, the westernmost point of the Via Regia and Via Imperii in Europe

James the Elder was one of the twelve apostles, son of Zebedee and brother of John. According to legend, he went to the Roman province of Hispania, today's Spain , immediately after Ascension Day , to do missionary work there, albeit with little success. He then returned to Palestine and was finally beheaded there in 44 on the orders of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea . According to a legend circulating in Spain since the Middle Ages , his body was placed in a boat, which was then driven to the coast of Spain. According to another version, his disciples Athanasius and Theodorus brought the body by sea to his mission area Spain and buried it in a stone grave in the area of ​​today's city of Santiago de Compostela. According to another popular legend in church circles, Emperor Justinian gave the remains to the Sinai monastery ; in the storms of Islam , monks brought the relics to safety in Spain. When the Muslims also conquered Spain, the relics were buried in what is now Santiago de Compostela. Excavations show that there was a necropolis that was part of a Roman military camp from the 1st to 4th centuries and a Suebi settlement from the 5th to 7th centuries.

The alleged grave was discovered in the period from 818 to 834 (the often mentioned year 813 is incorrect). According to legend, the hermit Pelayo saw an appearance of light that indicated an apostolic tomb. The Theodemir was reported to the Bishop of Iria Flavia . When a tomb was actually found, Theodemir declared that it was the tomb of St. James. Then King Alfonso II of Asturias (791–842) had a church built there, which developed into a pilgrimage center. A village emerged around the church that became the city of Santiago in the 10th century.

West facade of the cathedral, heliography 1889

The single-nave church soon became too small. So was 872 under King Alfons III. started with a larger three-aisled structure. On August 10, 997, Almansor , the great military leader of the Caliph of Cordoba , destroyed the city and the cathedral. (The tomb of James was not damaged, however.) The bells of the cathedral were dragged by enslaved Christians to Cordoba, 1000 kilometers away. (After the conquest of Cordoba on June 29, 1236 by Castilian troops, they were brought back to Santiago by Moorish slaves.) Only under Alfonso VI. the church was rebuilt. According to various sources, the work began either in 1075 or 1078. Around this time, Santiago de Compostela, along with Rome and Jerusalem, became the most important place of pilgrimage in Christendom.

In 1985, Santiago de Compostela was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO . The Camino de Santiago ( St. James' Way ) became the first European cultural route in 1987, and in 1989 the IV World Youth Day took place in Santiago de Compostela  .

In 2000, Santiago de Compostela was the European Capital of Culture .


Employment figures in the municipality of Santiago de Compostela in the economic sectors 2014
Employees Percentage
TOTAL 35,824 100
Agriculture, ranching and fishing 441 1.23
Industry 2,459 6.86
Construction industry 1,718 4.80
Service companies 31.206 87.11
* Data from the Statistical Office for Economic Development in Galicia . IPI


Results of the municipal council elections

Political party Seats 2011 Seats 2015
PP 13th -
PSOE 9 -
Bloque Nacionalista Galego 3 -
Source: Spanish Ministry of the Interior


The democratically elected mayor
Term of office Mayor Political party
1979-1983 José Antonio Souto Paz (until 1981) / Marcial Castro Guerra UCD
1983-1986 Ernesto Viéitez Cortizo PSOE
1986-1998 Xerardo Estévez Fernández PSOE
1988-2011 Xosé Antonio Sánchez Bugallo PSOE
2011–2012 Gerardo Conde Roa PP
2012-2015 Ángel Currás Fernández and Agustín Hernández Fernández de Rojas PP
2015-2019 Martiño Noriega Sánchez Compostela Aberta
since 2019 Xosé Sánchez Bugallo PSOE

Population development of the municipality

Source: INE archive - graphic processing for Wikipedia


The pilgrimage destination: reliquary of the apostle James

Santiago was declared a place of pilgrimage around 830 when the bones found in a tomb were attributed to the Apostle James. In the impressive cathedral , a gilded canopy adorns the altar . A constant stream of pilgrims forms snakes, a large seated figure of St. James is hugged and kissed as a sign of reverence.

Along with Rome and Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela was one of the most important pilgrimage destinations of the Christian Middle Ages . The catchment area extended to Scandinavia and Eastern Central Europe . Holy years have been recorded since the 15th century , which always take place when St. James' Day (July 25th) falls on a Sunday. The Way of St. James has been experiencing a renaissance since the Holy Year of 1976. Every year over 200,000 pilgrims come to Santiago on foot, by bike , on horseback or as a wheelchair user. The scallop shell (Pecten maximus) has been a sign of pilgrimage since the early 11th century . In 1106, miracles were reported in Italy which took place simply by touching such a pilgrimage sign. The shells were brought to Santiago from the Atlantic coast, usually with two holes, and sold to pilgrims in the market north of the cathedral door. The shells were carried on the front of the hat and often given to the pilgrim in the grave.

Another pilgrimage route leads from Seville to Santiago de Compostela, the so-called Silver Route or Ruta de la Plata . It runs along the border with Portugal through the Extremadura and was built by the Romans about 2000 years ago . The Moors called it "Ruta Bal'latta", which means "broad paved path".

Climate table

Santiago de Compostela
Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología, normal period 1981-2010
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Santiago de Compostela
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 11.2 12.5 15.0 16.1 18.6 22.2 24.3 24.7 22.8 18.1 14.1 11.9 O 17.7
Min. Temperature (° C) 4.1 4.1 5.4 6.2 8.5 11.3 13.0 13.3 11.9 9.5 6.7 5.0 O 8.3
Temperature (° C) 7.7 8.3 10.2 11.2 13.6 16.8 18.6 19.0 17.4 13.8 10.4 8.5 O 13th
Precipitation ( mm ) 210 167 146 146 135 72 43 57 107 226 217 261 Σ 1787
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 3.0 4.0 4.9 5.5 6.0 7.5 7.8 7.6 6.1 4.3 3.2 2.7 O 5.2
Rainy days ( d ) 15.2 12.6 12.8 14.4 12.7 7.6 5.7 5.5 8.4 14.0 14.9 15.9 Σ 139.7
Humidity ( % ) 84 79 75 76 76 74 74 74 75 82 86 85 O 78.3
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Air traffic

Santiago Train Station

The Santiago airport is located 15 km east of the city. Spain's Iberia serves Santiago via Madrid or Barcelona to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Lufthansa has regular connections to Frankfurt and Munich. Easyjet and Vueling fly to Zurich Airport several times a week , but Easyjet only to Basel-Mulhouse Airport . Ryanair flies several times a week from Frankfurt-Hahn and London Stansted to Santiago.

Rail transport

The Spanish railway station is located south of the old town . In addition to regional and national connections, there is a daily continuous connection to Hendaye with international connections.

On July 24, 2013, the Santiago de Compostela railway accident occurred , a railway accident in which 80 people died.

Bus transport

On the eastern edge of the old town is the large bus station (estación de autobuses) , from which buses run to the airport, many Galician and Spanish cities and also (without changing) to Germany, France and Switzerland.


The Rua do Vilar in the old town at night

The cathedral of Santiago de Compostela with its relics is worth seeing . The facade of the cathedral is also shown on the Spanish cent coins (1, 2 and 5 euro cents ).

Near the cathedral is the Hospital de los Reyes Católicos , which has served as a royal hospice since 1509 for the reception of travelers who came to Santiago and is now one of the most famous and luxurious Parador hotels. The hotel is one of the oldest in the world. It has four inner courtyards, elegant rooms and a sumptuous dining room.

The entire old town, which is protected by UNESCO and is a World Heritage Site with the cathedral and the Way of St. James , is well worth seeing . The busiest street in the old town of Santiago is Rúa do Franco, which leads directly to the square in front of the cathedral. Here you will find numerous restaurants with Galician specialties (Pulpo cocido, Vieira etc.).

From the cathedral you can go through the Rúa do Franco to the exit of the old town and then left over the Praza de Galicia (where there is also an information point) into the new part of the city, where there is no pleasant quiet atmosphere on weekdays, but it is vivid becomes what the daily life of the Galegos looks like. To the right one arrives at the Alameda or Parque da Ferradura , from whose promenade there is a very nice view of the old town and the front of the cathedral. The traditional Compostelan cattle market took place in the shade of the trees until the second half of the 20th century, while at the other end of this "horseshoe" (= Ferradura) is the monument to the Galician poet Rosalía de Castro .

In addition to the historical sights, Santiago de Compostela now also has modern architecture to offer. In 1995 the Galician Center for Contemporary Art , designed by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza , was completed.

Cidade da Cultura de Galicia - Galicia City of Culture

In recent years, a huge facility, called Cidade da Cultura de Galicia , which includes a museum, a theater and a library, has been built on Mount Gaias based on designs by the American architect Peter Eisenman .


The history of the University of Santiago de Compostela USC (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) goes back to the 15th century. Today the university is divided into a south and a north campus. The campus in Lugo is also part of the USC. Many of the university buildings in the old town are one of the city's attractions. This includes in particular the historical faculty on the Praza Universidade, the highlight of which is the library .


sons and daughters of the town

Personalities who have worked on site

  • Diego Gelmírez (* probably around 1069, † 1149), first Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela

Town twinning

Santiago de Compostela maintains the following city ​​partnerships :


  • Christoph Kühn : The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. History, art and spirituality. Plöttner-Verlag, Leipzig 2005, ISBN 3-938442-01-8 (Peregrinationes - writings on the pilgrimage and sacred landscape of Central Germany, Volume 1)
  • Brian Spencer: Pilgrim Souvenirs and Secular Badges (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London; Vol. 7). The Stationary Office, London 1998, ISBN 0-11-290574-9 , pp. 244-248.
  • Gonzalo Torrente Ballester : Santiago de Compostela. A pilgrim's book (Compostela y su ángel, 1996). Ludwig-Verlag, Kiel 2007, ISBN 978-3-937719-54-2 .
  • Paulo Coelho : On the Camino de Santiago. Diary of a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (O diario de um mago, 1986). Diogenes, Zurich 1999, ISBN 3-257-23115-6 .
  • Ilja Mieck : Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela between 1400 and 1650. Response, structural change and crisis. In: Spanische Forschungen der Görres-Gesellschaft, first row: Collected essays on the cultural history of Spain , 30, Münster in Westphalia 1982, pp. 483-533.
  • Luis Gonzales Seare, Herman Liebaers (Ed.): Santiago de Compostela. 1000 ans de pèlerinage Européen. Edited by the Centrum voor Kunst en Cultuur (with contributions by Robert Plötz, JK Steppe , Pierre André Sigal, René de La Coste-Messeliere, Roger Stalley, Paolo G. Caucci von Saucken, Kurt Köster and others), Gent 1985 (= Europalia 85 , España).


Web links

Commons : Santiago de Compostela  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Cifras oficiales de población resultantes de la revisión del Padrón municipal a 1 de enero . Population statistics from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (population update).
  2. Santiago de Compostela ( Spanish ) May 22, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  3. Christian Gänshirt: Granite Sculpture - Galician Center for Contemporary Art in Santiago de Compostela , in: AIT - Architecture, Interior Design, Technical Expansion , No. 5/1995
  4. ↑ Holiday Galicia, City of Culture
Muszla Jakuba.svg
Navigation bar St. James " Camino Francés "

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