"Cathedral - interior" Top 5 Page for this destination Cathedral Tip by suvanki

Cathedral, Santiago de Compostela: 54 reviews and 137 photos

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Entrance to the Cathedral is free and is open daily from 0700 - 2100hrs.

It is 97m long and 22m high, the largest romanesque church in Spain, and one of the largest in Europe.

Around the cathedral are information booths where a 1 euro coin gives a taped commentary.

Most visitors, including thousands of pilgrims who've completed one of the arduous caminos, enter through the doors on the Western Obradoiro side. Other entrances are the Acibecheria and Praterias. If it's a Holy year - the next one will be 2010, you may enter through the Puerta Santa.

The Cathedral is in the shape of a Latin cross, and at the far end is the high altar, framed within the organs pipes. In the main nave, looking upto the ceiling, You'll see the hoist for the famed Botofumeiro - the huge incense burner that takes 8 priests, assisted by ropes and pulleys to swing through the air.

This was my initial reason for visiting Santiago de Compostela, and I was a bit disappointed to find out that this wasn't a regular feature of the services. I wasn't able to find out when it would be in operation from the few people I asked. However, there was plenty to see other than this.

In the crypt with the marble casket are the remains of St James and 2 of his disciples, viewed by descending a few steps. Somehow I managed to miss the image of the Saint, which is traditionally embraced or its feet kissed by the pilgrims.

I'm afraid I had to stifle a giggle while wandering around one of the chapels- either the Chapel of the Saviour or the Corticelo chapel I think, there was a display of some of the campest looking statues, including one that looked like Rowan Atkinson as the priest in Four Weddings and a Funeral!

I quite enjoyed the peace and quiet of the airy Cathedral, and visited twice- the 2nd time as part of the audio guided walk, so I learnt a lot more about the history and architecture.

I was particularly impressed with the Portico of Glory - more info in my next tip.

UPDATE - Just returned from SDC, where I was looking forward to visiting the Cathedral again- Hmmmm.... just had to smile at my comment of 'enjoying the peace and quiet' it was more like Bedlam this time- thronging with chattering visitors, plus a recorded 'Monastic choir' and announcements over the tannoy - I'm glad that saw it the first time, when I could look around in peace.- I'm afraid that I left quite quickly this time! I'm not sure which was the worse experience, this or Sevilles Cathedral, which was also overrun by jostling crowds - Well at least it's still free entrance here!

Phone: 0981 583 548
Website: http://www.catedraldesantiago.es/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 4, 2009
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